Columbia, SC 04/06/2023 - Firefighters from around the state met yesterday at the State House to speak to their legislators and unify the fire service voice with concentration on several legislative actions that impact the fire service as part of the annual South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association Legislative Day.
The South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association President, Josh Holzheimer of Greer, welcomed approximately 1,000 firefighters, legislators, and staff to a focused event to draw attention to safety and protection needs of fire service personnel, both volunteer and paid, during the annual meeting. Firefighters met with both House and Senate members and offered directed thoughts on several bills and shared messages and concerns from constituents back home.
During the luncheon, Representative Murrell Smith, Speaker of the House of Representatives (Sumter County) and Senator Harvey Peeler (Cherokee, Spartanburg, Union & York Counties) were inducted into the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association’s Society of the Maltese.
“Speaker Smith and Senator Peeler’s service to their districts and to South Carolina shows a long-standing tradition and their commitment to helping the state’s fire service in Columbia is proven each year,” offered Josh Holzheimer, president of the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association. The Society of the Maltese Cross honors General Assembly members that have contributed to and participated with firefighters in pursuit of public safety.
A symbol associated with fire for over 500 years, the Maltese cross brings to mind in every firefighter the traditions and values sacred and true to service to our fellow man. Firefighters across South Carolina, and the world, proudly display the Maltese cross on their uniforms to remember and signify servants of similar purpose.
The points of the Maltese cross stand for gallantry, sympathy, tact, observation, explicitness, dexterity, loyalty, and perseverance. The Establishment of the Order of the Maltese cross by the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association recognizes those individuals of the SC General Assembly that share in those values and have supported South Carolina firefighters in meeting those goals.
Each year, the Firefighters’ Association inducts a class of Legislators that represent what is best in the qualities of courage, compassion, and loyalty to duty. The Society of the Maltese Cross is a fellowship of service and is a commemoration of thanks on behalf of the men and women of the fire service of the great state of South Carolina.
Several pieces of legislation being followed by South Carolina firefighters are V-SAFE funding, Palmetto 800 funding, PTSD and the Workforce, Line of Duty Death benefits, Fire Drills in Schools, and Right of Way. More information on the Association’s Legislative efforts are available online: https://scfirefighters.org/advocacy/legislative/