The controversy over Confederate monuments and flags doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon. The Uwharrie Volunteer Fire Department in Montgomery County, North Carolina, has refused to take down the Confederate flag even after their funding was pulled.
They are upset because the flag has been on the property for years. They claim, “The flag is not hurting a thing,” according to Lee Hudson who is with the department.
“We are not a racist department. We are not in any way. Members or the department as a whole,” he says.
The firefighters say the flag represents history and heritage while the county commissioners say it’s divisive.
“The Board of Commissioners stated their position, that they did think the flag was inappropriate and requested for the fire department to take it down,” said Montgomery County Manager Matthew Woodard.
The firefighters were also sent a letter on Tuesday. They were told they had to remove the flag or lose their full funding. Now they will only receive the money needed to fuel and maintain two county-owned fire trucks.
The amount of money they stand to lose is staggering. They could lose $20,000 and the chance of getting a new truck worth $400,000.
Commissioners have been trying to find a solution to the situation for months but to no avail.
“The Board of Commissioners recognize the position they are in, the leadership responsibility they have to the County, and the obligation they have to the residents of Uwharrie,” Woodard stated. “They have tried to find a middle-ground to send the appropriate message in relations to that flag and at the same time not to jeopardize the well-being of the residents of Montgomery County.”
The firefighters have no intention of taking down the Confederate flag.
“We would love to work with the County and for them to support us,” Hudson said. “But, we’re not going to move on the issue of taking down the flag.”