Editor:

    As the President of Española Firefighters Union I.A.F.F Local 4339, I would like to make it clear that we neither endorse nor oppose the newly proposed drug rehabilitation center in Española called Darrin’s Place.

    We held a regular scheduled Union meeting on July 21, and were asked by a group of people that oppose Darrin’s Place to be placed on the agenda. Many people showed up but we had only scheduled participants who were opposed to the idea speak.

    We intend to hold our next Union Meeting Aug. 26 and have placed representatives from Darrin’s Place on the agenda to voice support for the facility. The Union meeting follows the City’s appeal hearing scheduled for Aug. 11.

    The Firefighters Union would like the public to know that 80 percent of our calls are Medical and a majority of those calls are with struggling individuals with addiction and drug related issues. Their families are desperately trying to save the lives of their loved ones.

    As members of this union we are all too familiar with dangerous overdose scenes, sorrow-stricken families, and the perpetuation of the heroin epidemic. We realize that we simply do not have enough treatment centers for those people struggling with addiction.

    We want to remind everyone that all citizens of the Valley are important, and we ask that everyone be mindful of their words and use kindness when addressing each other.

    If you are struggling with drug use, there is hope. There is help. You can call the non-emergency dispatch line to get help from one of us, at (505) 753-5555, or the Española Pathways Homeless Shelter at (505) 753-4453 Shannon Baum Facility Manager (505) 990-9086, National Hotline for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration 1-(800) 662-HELP.

    John Wickersham

    President, Española Firefighter Union

    I.A.F.F Local 4339

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