Closings and delays

Volunteer fire department in Montgomery County may lose funding over Confederate flag flying outside their station

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, N.C. -- A volunteer fire department could lose some of its funding if they don’t take down a Confederate flag flying outside their station.

“To us, it means we are Southerners,” said Clinton Dyer, the assistant chief at the Uwharrie Volunteer Fire Department. “We don't mean anybody any harm when flying that flag.”

Others disagree.

“This is a vestige of bigotry slavery and racism,” said Ray Hudson, a member of the Committee for a Better Montgomery County.

The group was created to get the flag removed from the volunteer fire department.

“We want the flag to come down,” Ray Hudson said.

Montgomery County Commissioners asked the department to remove it in July.

“We feel like it is our freedom of speech, our right to leave it up,” said Lee Hudson, a volunteer firefighter.

The property belongs to the department, but the county provides them funds and trucks.

In a letter this week, commissioners threatened to take to some of that funding away unless this flag is taken down.

Commissioners also said they would remove the department’s name on their trucks and put in a decal that represents equality and freedom of speech.

“If we back down and take down a simple flag, what some people call a simple flag, what is going to be the next thing they demand us to do,” said Lee Hudson.

Volunteer firefighters we spoke with say they don’t expect to budge. They plan to meet by the end of the month to figure out what their response is going to be.

A commissioner told us they only threatened to take away part of the department’s funding because they wanted to make sure if there is an emergency in that area, people will still get help.

On Saturday, the Committee for a Better Montgomery County is holding a short rally at county courthouse at 11 a.m.