New Brunswick

Miramichi firefighters fix defaced pride flag

A defaced pride flag in Miramichi, painted on the road near Miramichi City Hall, has been restored, thanks to city firefighters and the Kinsmen, but not everyone was a fan of their community spirit.

'Hope this isn’t taxpayers' money doing this again and again,' one person writes online

Miramichi firefighters and Kinsmen Club members restored a defaced pride flag painting this week. (Tony Traer)

A defaced pride flag in Miramichi, painted on the road near Miramichi City Hall, has been restored, thanks to  city firefighters and the Kinsmen, but not everyone was a fan of their community spirit.

Firefighter Tony Traer of the Miramichi IAFF Local 5087 said he arrived at work last Friday and saw on the news that vandals had ruined the flag with tire skid marks and white paint. 

He said it made him mad that the flag was being destroyed over and over again, so he and a few of his co-workers cleaned it up.

"Those kids in the gay-straight alliance who painted the rainbow flags, they've very brave and the least we can do is support them," Traer said. "Especially against vandals and bullies."

Complaint on social media

On Monday, Traer returned with another group of firefighters and members of the Kinsmen Club of the Miramichi to repaint the flag.

When they posted photos of their work to Twitter and Facebook later that day, the support they received from the community was "unbelievable and makes us even more proud of our community," he said.

But there were also some who appeared upset by the firefighters' goodwill. One person commenting on Twitter hoped "this isn't taxpayers' money doing this again and again."

Traer said he heard about other complaints, though he couldn't say what they were about. When news of the defaced flag was first posted online last week, members of the community also posted unkind comments online.

While some people may be generally concerned about their tax dollars, Traer said that's a "non-issue." Monday was his day off, and the other firefighters were ready to respond to an emergency at any time, he said.

Traer added that firefighters are always active in the community,  participating in many events and activities that are unrelated to their job.  

The firefighters posted a comment in response to the complaint on the union's Facebook page that said "not a cent of the city's money was used on us helping out."

Tony Traer returned with another group of firefighters and Kinsmen to repaint the flag. (Tony Traer)

The post also said the complaint came "under the guise of 'doing it on the city's dime.' Which is a convenient way for some to hide their hateful agenda. Some … not all."

"We, more than anyone, care where every dime in the fire budget goes. We protect people. Always. Those kids were granted permission to paint that flag on city streets," the post said.

"And no one, other than city council, can take that away. We'll stand up with them when some faceless coward vandalizes it under the cover of dark."

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