MANASSAS, Va. — WUSA9 asked the following question Wednesday morning to the Stonewall Jackson Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad:
Has there been any discussion of changing the name of your volunteer fire department company in light of the latest protests and historical implications of using the name of a Confederate general?
The department issued the following response to WUSA9 Wednesday evening:
The Stonewall Jackson Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad has proudly served the citizens, businesses and visitors of the County since 1971.Today our diverse and dedicated volunteers protect approximately 17.4 square miles of the county, including the Manassas National Battlefield. We respond to over 5,000 calls per year and our membership provided just under 40,000 hours of service to the community last year. We take our responsibility and commitment to serve and protect all members of our community very seriously.
Immediately following the events in Minneapolis and around the country, we recognized the need to consider our department's name in the context of today's national sentiment. We agree that the imagery and name of Stonewall Jackson may be seen as a symbol of racism and oppression; however, that is not, nor has it ever been the reason behind its selection as the name for this department. We do not condone discrimination against any person for any reason. At its most fundamental level, the name was chosen because of our department's proximity to the battlefield. to the most famous event that took place there, and the statue being its most prominent feature. Simply stated, the name "Stonewall Jackson" is representative of the area which we serve.
That said, we are not defined by the name or image of Stonewall Jackson. Rather, our enduring principles define who we are and what we believe in: selfless service, fairness, diversity, empowerment, quality of life, bravery, communication. accountability, unity of effort, learning, and tradition.
With these in mind, we are compelled to responsibly address this issue, incorporating the input of our members, our community, and County leadership. This is a complex and important issue, and we are working toward a resolution that is in the best interest of our community and our department. While we are working quickly and diligently, we cannot provide a specific timeframe for resolution. Meanwhile, our members remain committed to respond and provide fire and emergency medical services to all those who call for help.
-Richard Rubino, President, Stonewall Jackson Fire Department and Rescue Squad