Re: “Pierce County fears firefighter exodus” [Aug. 25, Local]: Firefighters’ president Aaron James says the vaccine mandate is “a disgrace for his members as this has been their livelihood and their career.” But then why did they choose firefighting as a career if not to care for their community and protect lives?

As an educator in public schools for over 25 years, this was infuriating to me. I deeply respect firefighters because they choose to work in a profession in which they put the lives of others ahead of themselves, facing danger presumably because they care about their fellow citizens’ well-being.

I personally felt a responsibility to protect both students and myself by getting the vaccine as soon as it was offered. I’m proud that our union mandates the vaccine for school employees.

The true “disgrace” is in forgetting the obligation we who work in public service owe our community. The evidence of vaccine safety is now proven. Let’s listen to our physicians and public health officials and do the right thing for our vulnerable fellow citizens. Public servants should lead by example and help end the pandemic.

Lynn Sachnoff, Kirkland