I would like to clarify a couple points in response to Mr. Richey's recent comments in his Letter to the Editor regarding the tragic events of July 4.
The Marshalltown Fire and Police departments' personnel on scene that day served this community, and the families of the victims, with compassion and respect throughout the search and rescue efforts. In fact, all of the first responders involved with this incident served with courage and professionalism throughout this entire investigation.
It is true that family members of the victims were on scene for quite some time. At all times, the family members had someone from public safety with them providing whatever comfort and assistance we could. Multiple offers were made to the families to move them to an air conditioned environment. Understandably, the family members wanted to stay as close to the scene as possible. It would have been unreasonable under the circumstances to force the family members to leave the area. Ultimately, the family members did accept our offer of an air conditioned facility and were assisted with this move.
It is true that a representative of the State Center Police Department was present at this scene, along with several others from outside public safety organizations. One of the great things about the public safety community is when an emergency occurs of this magnitude, it is all hands on deck. The State Center Police Department and several other public safety and volunteer organizations provided invaluable assistance to the search and rescue efforts on July 4. I am forever grateful and in their debt for their assistance and service.
I saw several fire fighters and volunteer emergency response team members place their lives at great risk on July 4. I sincerely appreciate all of their efforts, and I am proud to be a small part of the public safety team we have assembled in this county. The citizens of Marshalltown can be very proud of the service the Marshalltown Fire and Police departments provided on July 4. Their efforts were in keeping with the finest traditions of public safety. They can also be proud of the professional services both organizations provide on a daily basis. It is my great pleasure and honor to serve alongside the great men and women of both organizations.