Honoring a hero, cheering pension protection
The death last week of Houston Fire Department Capt. William “Iron Bill” Dowling brought tears and memories for this heroic man's life. It also was a reminder of the importance of defined benefit pensions Houston firefighters receive as public servants.
Dowling lost both legs and suffered a brain injury after a roof collapsed on him while he was fighting a five-alarm fire at Southwest Inn May 31, 2013. The fire killed four Houston firefighters and injured more than a dozen others. Dowling died on Tuesday in Colorado due to complications of the injuries he sustained while working the deadly fire.
During a memorial service for Dowling held Wednesday at Houston Baptist University, Houston firefighters took a moment to register their concerns about the current state of pension adjustments under discussion by the city of Houston and its three pension systems. A brief comment of a mourner turned into cheers and a standing ovation.
It is somewhat difficult to bring up pension related issues at a time or mourning and remembrance, but it is always a very real concern for everyone in public service, and especially emergency response workers like firefighters and police.