E.V. Jones/EEW Magazine News Editor
After serving for 17 years as a Spokane Valley Firefighter, Captain Jon Sprague finds himself out of a job. Sprague received a letter of termination for sending out a Christian email to 46 fellow firefighters who are members of the “Christian Firefighter Fellowship” in Spokane Valley.
According to My Fox Spokane, Sprague says the emails only went out to the 46 members of the fellowship which he heads up, and caused no harm to anyone.
"We've had no complaints, hasn't disrespected the department," said Sprague.
But Spokane Valley Fire Chief Mike Thompson says Sprague violated department rules by using taxpayer-funded email for personal reasons. Administrators gave him a direct order to stop, and after several acts of discipline and warning they had no choice but to fire him for insubordination.
"All along the way we've given him a direct order, and he refused to do that," said Fire Chief Mike Thompson, Spokane Valley Fire Department.
But Sprague’s personal account of the events leading to termination seems to contradict that story.
"Never had been disciplined in the past. Everything seems to revolve around just those emails and the Christian content," he said.
"He can stand at the station, hand out fliers, we don't have a problem with that. He just can't use department funded systems to do what he wanted to do," said Thompson.
Though the firefighter was allowed to hand out Christian materials in a “department-funded building,” but not send Christian emails on “department-funded systems,” seems an interesting distinction, or perhaps contradiction, to say the least.
Despite his dismissal, Sprague is planning to defend himself and appeal the decision, suggesting that this entire incident may be born out of personal issues, rather than an actual violation of code.
"It's not like I can just walk next door and talk to another employee about some of these things," said the axed former firefighter. "We have 10 fire stations and three different shifts. The only real way is to communicate is that way."
Read the full story at My Fox Spokane.