Event should have been canceled
Even on a night when all of the attendees were dressed to the nines, the Johnstown Firefighter’s Charity Ball was still a bad look.
After a week that saw events at the national and local levels postponed or canceled due to the outbreak of COVID-19 virus, the decision was made to go forward with the fourth annual ball at the Holiday Inn last Friday.
At a time when everyone needs to do their part, having those who will be on the forefront of the response as first responders, was an irresponsible move.
There was no good reason to continue with the event.
Even though the funds raised by the ball went to the charity account of the fire department, it wouldn’t have been the first or last fundraiser stopped by the coronavirus.
There is no doubt that much planning went into the event.
Much planning also went into the efforts of the area school’s Odyssey of the Mind programs, who have been working all year long only to see it all go out the window when the regional event at Johnstown High School was canceled last week.
The same applies to college athletes, many of whom saw their careers end last week when the NCAA ended its winter and spring seasons.
Even at the professional level, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball all hit the pause button on their seasons.
All of the above decisions were made well before the Firefighter’s Ball took place.
On a Facebook post the day before the event, the Johnstown Professional Firefighters Local 779 asked that those displaying flu/coronavirus like symptoms not attend.
The problem is that many of those who have the coronavirus are asymptomatic and spread the virus without even knowing it. Also, the coronavirus is not the flu and comparing the two is dangerous for everyone.
In an area with many who fall into the highest risk category if they were to be hit by the virus, the last thing the community needs is its first responders to put them at risk.
Saving lives is part of the job for firefighters, putting the public at risk should not be.