No New York Firefighters in St Patrick's Day Parade? - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

No New York Firefighters in St Patrick's Day Parade?

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New York City Firefighters Marching in 2012 St Patrick's Day Parade New York City Firefighters Marching in 2012 St Patrick's Day Parade

It's a story that is making waves on Facebook, in Savannah, and around the nation right now.  

New York City firefighters getting booted from the St. Patrick's Day parade.

It's a change that's shocked many folks and angered even more.  
 
Jim Grismer's phone hasn't stopped ringing.  That's once word got out that his group, Savannah Friends of Firefighters, wouldn't be marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade this year.

"The first couple words were we regret to inform you," explained Jim Grismer, founder of Savannah Friends of Firefighters.

The letter he got from the Parade Committee this weekend went one to say that his group, comprised mostly of New York City firefighters, was found drinking before and during the parade, and due to repeated offenses, this year's request was denied.

"That's false," said Grismer. "Other firefighters somewhere in the parade may be drinking, but not our unit. I never have had anybody show up to march in my unit that was clearly intoxicated. I know they might have had a drink. But they are not drunks."

Grismer is just as upset about the timing, getting that letter two weeks before the parade, after firefighters' planes and hotels have already been booked.

"You've insulted the nation. All the papers will pick this up," said Grismer. "They did in 2007. Made Savannah look foolish."

After the 2007 parade, the New York City firefighters were also banned from marching, this time for drinking and throwing beads to the crowds, also a parade no.

{john Forbes - St pats parade committee 2008}
"We've tried over the years to weed out all the drinking and excessive revelry," said John Forbes, St Patrick's Day Parade Committee Member back in 2008. "And unfortunately that doesn't work for some people."

Grismer says he's tightened up the rules for the firefighters since then, and didn't think there was a problem until now.
 
"I can understand they have to have rules and we have to abide by them, and that's what we were doing," said Grismer. "And they say we weren't. He said, she said. Whatever."

As news has spread, folks around the nation are getting on social media and asking, why?
 
"You can see that in the Facebook and the emails, all the support," explained Jim. "It may not help us but it may make the Parade Committee squirm a bit."

The Savannah St. Patrick's Parade Committee told News 3 over the phone they did not deny the New York City Fire department a permit, they denied the Savannah Friends of Firefighters a parade pass.
 
They add that the committee has been in direct contact with the New York Fire Department about the parade this year.

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