PETERSBURG, W.Va. — Two Grant County 911 dispatchers were fired Tuesday for airing a Christian-themed message over the county’s pager system on Christmas Eve.

Hunter Whetzel and Jared Alt took part in the broadcast that focused on the birth of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross.

Alt said he believed the message of the real meaning of Christmas needed to be broadcast. Alt said they waited until all emergency units were back in service and not on calls to broadcast the message.

The men said they were fired for insubordination and violation of FCC regulations regarding public safety frequency usage. Both said they will fight for their jobs.

Officials with the Grant County emergency dispatch said they cannot comment on personnel issues.

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  • wv4evah

    All this ridiculous hand-wringing over two guys using a government entity to prosthelytize. Insert the name of any other religion..Muslim, Shinto, Jewish, to name three..and I'm sure there'd be tumbleweeds rolling through this comments section.

  • WVU 74

    Good luck, guys (Mr. Whetzel and Mr. Alt).

    You should be reinstated to your positions, and your legal expenses paid by Grant County. Then you should resign.

    Your future at Grant County emergency dispatch is dim, if you stay. You can do better.

    • WV Bobodoo

      It's time for Christians to stand up and be counted. This political correctiveness crap
      has gone way to far!!!!

  • disgruntled mom

    It amazes me that these good, hard working fellows got fired for telling the truth and brightening a lot of people's night. We are a small town. Small town people dnt usually fall under the normal laws because we have values. Values these young men expressed! We need more young men like this and less of the ones hiding behind their badges and rules! Idk how many times I've had to file and re file to get a case looked at in grant county, or how many times I've reported actual crimes that get swept under the rug. If you can sweep felony offenses, rape, and many other illegal things under the rug... I'd give these young men a 2nd chance and move on! At least they contribute to the bettering of society!

    • jus as upset as u r

      I couldnt agree with u more and have dealt with the sames issues u have stated ....

    • wendy

      I don't think these boys should be fired they were just reminding people of the reason for the season CHRISTMAS firing was to harsh

    • Support

      Very well said "disgruntled mom"! If more people stood up for God, this would be a better country to live in.

      • disgruntled mom

        Indeed it would. It's just sickening to watch common criminals get chance after chance in this small town and to see these young fellows who have been volunteering most of their lives to help our community and who have touched every one in the communities lives in some way get the boot. It took the state police and the grant co sheriff's office 15 months to execute a felony warrant. It took calling every day and calling Charleston to have the warrant finally executed. The answer I got when I finally got the warrant served was "he's cooperating with us on other cases."!!!! Seriously?! If being a criminal can be overlooked because of "cooperation on other cases", let's just call this a WOOPS and let these fine upstanding young men get back to helping our community! Maybe they should run for sheriff!

        • Don Jr.

          Unfortunately, there seems to be less and less tolerance for the truth these days. It does not even have to be spiritual truth about God and the bible. Even the truth about any subject is now out of fashion. It's sad for us, our country, and our future.

  • Rick S.

    Would they have been fired or disciplined if they told a story about labor unions on Labor Day? Or a salute to veterans on Memorial Day? Or a history about America on Independence Day? Or a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? Every federal holiday needs to be given equal protection under the law.

  • The bookmen

    Pitiful ....

  • Janice

    Of course, had these been Muslims doing the same thing about Allah and killing all infidels, it would be declared protected speech. Anyone disagreeing with them would be labled a bigot and fired for creating a hostile work place.

    • CaptainQ


      • Big Dave

        Janice, you sure nailed that!

  • a concerned educator

    If this message had blocked one 911 call and someone had died, I am sure that the repercussions would have been greater. 911 is for emergencies, not public service broadcasts of religious messages.

    • concerned

      In response to your comment, the first fact was that what these two young men did in no way kept a 911 call from coming through. Their broadcast was only put across a paging system for EMS/ Fire personnel. It did not keep them providing the quality 911 service that they always provided. This message is no different than those that other 911 centers broadcasted stating that "Santa" had been spotted in the area. If you are going to fire these young men for speaking the true meaning of the holiday then all those 911operators who broadcasted about "Santa" should be recieving the same punishment. These two young men are to be applauded for reminding people the true meaning of the Christmas holiday.

      • bothered

        There are those that only see things one way. The employees of this 911 center abused their job by putting this message out.
        These two started their message by saying they were told not to put anything over the air. I am glad that they want to spread the true meaning of Christmas, but really making this kind of announcement is over stepping. If they are so proud of what they had announced why is it no longer on the internet to be heard. I personally think that if they did what they were told not to do then they got what they deserved.

      • T.

        You are exactly correct.....I remember several years. The spotting of Santa was announced across the scanner


      • appalled

        I for one listened to that and applauded them for the reminder of Christ. .A page sent out is PRE-RECORDED and IN NO WAY would have stopped ANY 911 call from being received. I am with concerned, "Santa " spotter's should receive the same if these two loose their jobs. WAY to Go Guy's Thank's for the reminder of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST!

        • Someonethatknows

          Just for the record... pages are NOT prerecorded..... they are live broadcasting...

  • griff

    Thank you for standing up for your beliefs. Good luck getting your jobs back IF you really want to those people. Will be praying for you

  • Truth

    What if a religious message other than Christianity were to be played over the system, I'm sure these two men and the people of Grant County would have a different reaction. They seem to fully understand the policy and knew what the repercussions would be for their actions.

    • Jason412

      Yeah, love to see the reaction of Grant County if on June 28th someone played a message in support of Ramadan.

  • Undertheradar

    If the 911 center is going to allow for one religious sect to broadcast their personal beliefs on a taxpayer funded emergency system, then you need to allow for all religious beliefs to be broadcast across the network. That’s one of the founding principles of this country, the freedom to practice your religion as you see fit, but not through a taxpayer funded medium.

    • Mountain Man

      Exactly. Well said. What's next, broadcasts about aboerions and pro life, Muslim jihad, etc......While their act was very noble, they don't own the system and therefore don't get to decide how it is used. Poor judgement on these guys part.

    • Janice

      No, we can't have any of that. But we can have tax payer funded abortions and health plans for homosexual partners.

      Woe to them who call evil good and good evil.

  • Maxeer

    Another "mismanagement" libtard coward action take against its employees.....if u cant stand for'll fall for anything....and THEN doesnt have the guts to comment why they fired their employees....REAL good folks they've got there.....

  • northforkfisher

    They need to read about separation of state and church.

    • Shelly

      "separation of state and church"


    • Shawn H

      Please show me where the Constitution says "separation of church and state". And it is "Wall of separation between church and state". There is a big difference. Perhaps you should do some research of where that phrase came from.

      • Jason412

        I know what the Constitution says. I also know what the Treaty of Tripoli (1797) says, as wrote by John Adams

        "The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."

        That certainly is contrary to popular belief.

        • Shelly

          "Treaty of Tripoli "
          Wow, was never taught this part of the constitution.

          “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
          “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

          • Jason412

            The second quote, about facts, was John Adam's speaking in defense of the British Soldiers during the Boston Massacre trials.

    • Bearhunter

      Maybe that is why our government is in such terrible shape taking church out of state!!! When you take God out of something you can be sure nothing good will come it's way!!!!

      • scott

        yeah...religion in state works so great in theocracies around the world huh?

      • Jason412

        Do you think the country would be any better if church and state weren't seperated? Look at the higher ups in the Catholic Church and the way that's ran "oh you molested a small boy? Time for a transfer." No thanks.

      • Monk

        Religion doesn't belong in state. If it did, we'd be just like Iran, hanging people who reject religion.

        • Debra


    • Rick S.

      According to the First Amendment of the Constitution, the so-called separation of state and church states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

      So in accordance with the Constitution, those men did nothing wrong because they are obviously not Congressmen who established a religion, nor did they prohibit anybody from exercising religion. Therefore, your implication of a separation of state and church issue is null.

      The men may have violated a rule regarding use of the public safety frequency -- I don't know those laws.

      • northforkfisher

        What I meant was, that allowing one religion to use this we now open it that all the other religions will want to use it.
        The other thing is by using a tax payers system it allows anti religious group a chance to sue, in this sue happy world.

  • steve

    Thats what Christmas is ------even if the liberal wackos dont want to accept it-----they need to clean the management out of this 911 center first...Does not say much for Petersburg..............

    • BH

      Actually is says a lot of good things about Grant County. Also, Christmas cards are a nice, personal way to express religious sentiments.

  • medic1260

    They knew the rules for EMERGENCY frequency's The message may have been good, the media was wrong. they say I will lose my job..... Grant County 911 had no choice. The frequency's are under FCC rules......... and used for EMERGENCY Broadcast

    • Rev jack turner

      Medic 1260 man up and put your name up there ,we don't care about your number , we stand for Christ ,,,,,they did nothing wrong and you know it .....oh yea if that would have been for gay and lesbian day it probally would have never even been mentioned ....pothedic

      • Monk

        Rev jack turner

        If they announced support for 'gay and lesbian day' you'd be up in arms and demanding they be fired. What kind of hypocrite are you?

        That's the problem with religion, when you point out that you cannot force it on others you get angry and say 'we are the victims!'

        • Packman

          But...he is right, had it been any other group no one would have been fired. Yes people would complain but they would just be called names and that would be the end of it. No firing.

          • Jason412

            How can you say that? You have no idea how this 911 center is ran.

        • JJ

          Thank You..

          • EMT Dave

            Yes...thank you very much.

    • Mike

      Bull, I worked for a major communication company for 35 years. I have experienced several audits and this should have warranted no more than a reprimand. I am not Christian or religious in any way, but this makes me mad and scares the Hell out of me.

      • Jonus Grumby

        Mike, I agree. They did violate FCC rules plus emergency services protocol and used poor judgement in what they did. However I think firing is a bit much. That is unless they had been reprimanded for prior infractions. I can think of people who have done much worse yet kept their jobs in that line of work. The administrators should reconsider.

      • RogerD

        I'm with you, Mike. If the individuals involved have a good work record to date, bring fired for this does seem a bit extreme.

    • Got_faith

      If these guys should be fired for what they've done, what's any difference in 911's dispatchers children being brought in while on the clock? So, what would happen if there was an emergency doing this time? What about smoking inside the 911 building when we have a county wide ordinance? Have these individuals been fired? I think not...

      • bothered

        The individual in charge has selective rules. If you are one that she likes you can do anything and it is OK. Anyone that will let employees bring in non-employees so they can take showers while working and have other non-employees partying in the center; that is really making sure that they are protecting to citizens of Grant County.

        • Someonethatknows

          Wow.. really?? Do you have a video camera in there or something?? No ONE is allowed to smoke inside the building, and NO ONE does..... And as far as the other, I am sure if the boss new about it, it wouldnt be happening. She is NOT there 24/7....

        • concerned2

          While they are doing whatever they do at the 911center the people of mt. Storm are waiting at least a half hour on an ambulance to respond from Petersburg and I understand the fcc regulations and the problem this created, but seriously where do we draw the line.

      • Pink

        Sounds like their boss is convicted! Whatcha gonna do when you're left behind Commish? and Miss Peggy?

    • Emergency Broadcast?

      So should anyone who uses that frequency for non-emergency reasons be fired? I'm sure I can show several instances when dispatchers and field personnel make comments on the radio that certainly aren't emergent!

      • wvrefugee

        Yes, no exceptions! Typical idiot WV responses!

        • jack

          all u people that are sayin they need to be fired are all idiots!!!!!!

      • Jason412

        I'd be interested to see the other instances you refer to.

      • JJ

        Yes..! they should be fired.

  • Lynn Caseman

    Good for them! We need more like them to stand for what they believe. Rosa Parks did, the Robinson family did, and now these two did.
    My family thanks you.

    • Jason412

      Wow please never put the Robertson's in the same category as Rosa Parks. HUGE difference. Actually I couldn't think of a more inaccurate comparison.