SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The volunteer firefighter from Wentworth, South Dakota we told you about last week, who traveled to help Ukraine in the war effort, has been suspended.
Greg Zimmerman tells KELOLAND News that he was informed last week, while he was still in Ukraine, that he was temporarily suspended from his duties as a volunteer firefighter.
The question is why was he suspended?
Zimmerman says he’s still waiting for an official answer.
“Yeah, well while I was over there the last week, I got a call from a couple of firefighters from my department who said I had been suspended,” Zimmerman said.
That news came as a complete shock to Greg Zimmerman, who is back home tonight working as an electrical engineer at DSG.
It’s his full-time job.
While he’s happy to be back home, Zimmerman doesn’t know where he stands now as a volunteer firefighter.
“I’m sitting here wondering what’s going on when nobody will really tell me,” Zimmerman said.
He says there’s been no communication between him and his fire chief.
Zimmerman says he was told by other firefighters that he violated the department’s policy.
While in Ukraine, a war zone, Zimmerman wore his Wentworth firefighting gear.
He says apparently that’s against company policy, which he says he never knew.
Zimmerman says he joined other firefighters in a group called ‘Project Joint Guardian.’
Like the others, he says he just wanted to use his firefighting skills to help the Ukrainian people.
“It’s really hard watching what’s happening on the news and not wanting to do something to help the people over there,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman says most of his time in Ukraine was spent recovering bodies.
“It was mostly recovery at that point, there was a lot of recovery to do,” …….
As you can imagine it is hard to talk about.
But he has no trouble talking about how his company back here in Sioux Falls stands behind him.
“They were 100% in support of what I was doing and it’s really nice to have a job that allows you to do that kind of thing,” Zimmerman said.
KELOLAND News reached out to the Wentworth fire chief and the City of Wentworth to find out why Zimmerman was suspended and for how long.
Terry Reck says “this was a department issue before Greg was in the Ukraine. This suspension issue was because of a violation of department policy before he departed to the Ukraine. It has nothing to do with his private involvement in the Ukraine.”