I want to start this article by stating this article is in no way a dig on the Savage Volunteer Fire Company (SVFC) or the outstanding men and women that work for that fire company. This is solely about the optics of the logo used by that fire company.

You can see the logo above…and some people reached out to me and told me about it…so I visited the fire company on Sunday to take a few photos. You can see in the photos below the logo on the walls of the fire company and on the vehicles used by the fire company: (click the link to see all of the images on Facebook)

Professional sports organizations have come under fire for the use of similar logos and mascots:

So I thought the question should be asked…here in Howard County…with an organization that is staffed and funded with county money…is it time for Savage Volunteer Fire Company to change their logo?

The SVFC has a long history in Howard County: (via history page on their website)

Savage Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1937 as the Sixth District of Howard County. Built in 1938, the original fire station was located on Savage-Guilford Road and is now the location of a beauty shop. At this time in 1938, Savage Volunteers put the first ambulance in service in the county. The companies first fire truck, a 1947 Diamond “T” was purchased in 1947. The companies second location was at 8925 Lincoln St., purchased in 1957, with the original station completed in September 1957. Throughout the years, the volunteers continued to provide emergency services to the citizens of Savage and the surrounding communities. As Howard County began to grow, 1974 brought about change in the county with two new stations being placed in service. Station 8 in the Second Fire District and Station 9 in the Sixth Fire District. At that time, Station 9 was a part of the Sixth District and was managed by Volunteers of Savage VFC. Thirteen years later… Fire Station 10 was built by Howard County and placed under the management of the Sixth District. With the Sixth District seeing a decline in volunteer participation, the county began phasing in career staff to assist the volunteers in providing service. About the same time, Savage Volunteers turned over control of Stations 9 & 10 to Howard County to manage.

I thought it was important in this article to share the long history of the SVFC in our community.

During the course of looking into this topic…here are some of the people I spoke to or sent emails to on this topic:

  • I spoke in person with Savage Volunteer Fire Company Fire Chief Ron Hunley. He showed up at the firehouse while I was onsite taking photos on Sunday. I explained what I was planning on writing about and I offered an opportunity for the fore company to provide a statement or information for the article. I also sent a follow up email to the fire company this morning.
  • I spoke on the phone with Brad Tanner (Dir of Community Outreach & Media Affairs – Howard County Dept of Fire and Rescue Services). I explained to him why I was onsite at the firehouse and what I was going to be writing about and also offered an opportunity to provide a statement for the article from HCFRS. I followed up this morning via email.
  • I sent an email to Howard County Professional Fire Fighters – International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2000 President Richard L. Ruehl on Sunday. I sent him the image and offered an opportunity to provide a statement.

I did receive (today) the following email from Michael Hitt, President, Savage Volunteer Fire Company., Inc:

“We have been conducting research on the origin of the patch which dates back over eighty years,” said Savage Volunteer Fire Company President, Michael Hitt.

“As an organization that relies on volunteers from the diverse groups our communities represent, we are sensitive to the concerns raised and welcome community input as we conduct our review.”

Again…this article is only about a logo used by a local organization that has staffing and funding from Howard County Government.

Have thoughts on this topic…do you think this logo should be changed…or do you think it is fine as it is…let me know in the comments.

Scott E

3 COMMENTS

  1. I’m certainly not sure why having a picture of a Native American as part of a logo for the brave and honorable service of volunteer firefighters should draw anyone’s ire. Unlike the football team, I have never heard the term Redskins or any tribal reference used in connection with the fire department. Since it appears to have a long yet undefined history of no offense, I don’t see a reason to change it. The Volunteers have a long history of giving of their time, saving the County great expense for decades. Why would taxpayers see a need to pay to have a new logo developed, trucks and other equipment repainted, stationery changed, etc., etc.? Just because the fire tax was increased doesn’t mean we should look to spend that revenue on things which don’t effect the ability to keep citizens and their property safe. Thank you SVFD.

  2. Susan, I could have not said this better my self. Thank you for your dedication to the SVFC and your Community.

  3. A couple of years ago, I would have agreed with Susan. As a descendent of proud Southerners, including Confederate Army soldiers, I resented what felt like attempted erasure of my culture and heritage with so many Confederate statues and monuments being removed. Then I made an effort to see those public monuments from a broader perspective. What must it be like for descents of slaves – tax paying citizens – to have to pass such monuments at courthouses their taxes maintain? The monuments can go. Let history be history.

    The town of Savage was named for John Savage, but I find it jarring to see the stereotyped, antiquated Native American head under the word Savage. With so many people of all backgrounds moving into our county, most won’t be aware of who John Savage was. They’ll see the association of Native Americans with savages.

    I doubt the cost would be too great to change the emblem. It could be fazed out without having to trash and reprint every brochure or scrap of letterhead. Just change the center picture on trucks and other large signs and leave the rest of the emblem.

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