PETERSBURG, W.Va. — The fired Grant County dispatcher who delivered a Christmas message focused on Jesus Christ on Christmas Eve over the county’s pager system said he doesn’t anticipate fighting to get his job back.

Both Jared Alt and fellow dispatcher Hunter Whetzel lost their jobs last week. Their boss said they were insubordinate and violated FCC regulations regarding public safety frequency usage when the message went out.

Alt told MetroNews affiliate WDYK Radio said he did what was right and will probably just move on.

“I don’t see myself fighting to get my job back,” Alt said. “It’s whatever God tells me to do. I’m going to have to try and find a job; I got bills to pay like everybody else. I’ve let him guide my steps so far and He’s going to guide the rest of my steps.”

Alt said other local counties broadcast Santa Claus sightings on the radio. He said he wanted to send a different message.

“I decided to put one on there about Jesus and the reason we are able to celebrate the holidays,” he said. “I typed it up and prayed about it. I walked outside and prayed about it. I knew it’s was God wanted me to do so I did it.”

Whetzel said he’s heard from many people who were encouraged by the message.

“They were really touched and very thankful that we did it and it really made their Christmas awesome,” he said.

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


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  • rick

    Let's keep religion in the church and our homes and keep it out of the public discourse like the Constitution intended. People would be up set if they put out a Jewish, Islamist, or other religious message. Folks have forgotten their history in favor of the Christmas myth. It was once illegal to celebrate Christmas in America because they thought it was a Pagan holiday.

    • Shadow

      I like the theory that "a rejoicing" occurred after it was determined by the ancient astronomers that the daylight was increasing and another year was forthcoming. Some have chosen to mark it with the birth of Jesus and others with another event. What does it matter what event is chosen? It is an individual thing.

  • Shadow

    Can someone explain how they were hurt by a message of a good faith? Time off but being fired doesn't make sense and doesn't speak well of their upper management.

    • mtnmedic

      Committing a Federal offense while in the commission of your employer is a surfire way of getting fired. Duh.

    • Gigi

      I agree Shady.

  • jeff

    I just found out from a dispatcher at Grant, Peggy let them work almost another full month before she even thought of firing them, and she heard it Christmas eve. If it was so bad, why did she wait so long to fire them?? Guess maybe she should keep saying the time down town showing her under ware on Facebook, but I guess that's professional.

    • just me

      so she and the other dispatchers could have their scheduled CHRISTmas breaks

    • mtnmedic

      Some people lack judgment. Including supervisors. That Peggy will likely have gotten a talking to by her superiors about not having addressed this sooner.

      Yes, it was SO bad. Let's pretend YOU are an employer. How would YOU feel if you told some employees not to do something and not only did they disobey you, they did it in grand fashion? And that they broke Federal regulations that could cost you your radio license? And that they BOASTED about it on Facebook and admitted what they did was wrong and could cost them their jobs? Does that tell you these guys cared about their jobs? Do you really want that kind of insubordination and insolence in your establishment?

      Especially in a PUBLIC SAFETY business?

      • jeff

        I am a manager, and have been for many years as has Peggie. Managers know if you have something bad enough to fire someone without warning, write ups, or written reprimand, it is done IMMEDIATELY, not put them back in a critical position such as a dispatcher for a month then fire them blaming the commission. I went even further this week and called FCC they said they don't tell people to fire employees for that, but they then had me call Dulles, I asked them, they said they had a supervisor call with such a similar complaint and did not tell them to fire their employee either, stated she was calling to see what she could do to the employee for it. I didn't tell them I was calling from this county. Seems alot of deception is being put out to fire these two. I will be at the meeting Tuesday at the courthouse. I have still yet to see how the second employee was fired when he didn't transmit or say the transmission. The answer to your question though, I'd no you don't just fireman employee for doing something you tell them not too unless it was extreme and dangerous, or we all would be fired as no one is perfect. I believe the employee who transmitted should be reprimanded for not listening, a week or two without pay, but termination. NO. I have had people do far far worse and not terminate. Ask your self have I followed every order given? A good medic with experience does not follow every protocol in the book either because sometimes it won't work. Should you loose your medic or be terminated from deviating from a book?

  • Preacher

    I am willing to take a stand and go to the Grant County Commission to request these individuals re-instatement. This is hypocrisy at its finest. It's OK to Track Santa, but not share a short message of JESUS? It's ok to give a LAST CALL for a fallen comrade, but not a message of thanks and hope? What have we become. The BIBLE says EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY tongue shall confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD. May as we'll choose to do it in this life, wouldn't you think?

    • mtnmedic

      Maybe you religious folks don't understand.

      First, the FCC has STRICT regulations about how certain radio frequencies are used, particularly PUBLIC SAFETY frequencies. Frequency allocations for general use in PRIVATE business -like plumbers and tow trucks-use are totally different and have much more leeway as to what can be said over the air. Aside from that, these guys used a GOVERNMENT radio system to promote religious beliefs, which is illegal. Also, the licensee of the radio frequencies involved also runs the risk of having their frequency allocation permanently revoked.

      Keep in mind....the Constitution, which you religious people seem to think God himself handed down to Americans and clutch close to your chest, CLEARLY establishes a separation of Church and State in the First Amendment.

      Ever hear any fire and police units being paged or dispatched on FM or AM radio, television signal, FRS (family radio band), ham and C.B. frequencies? No. That, too, would be deemed as illegal use of those frequencies. In fact, singing a song on ham radio frequencies is illegal use. Public safety frequencies were designed specifically and ONLY for public safety operations-related conversations and messages for one good reason: lives and property depend upon it. It doesn't matter if it's only for paging and there's a lull and everyone's asleep, waiting for a call.

      These dispatchers KNEW and ADMITTED doing what they did was a violation of their workplace policies. The dispatchers were told that there was to be no "holiday talk" over the radio. These clowns not only IGNORED a direct order, they elected to use the radio frequency assigned to pagers claiming this somehow circumvented the order.

      If you work at the checkout stand at a grocery store and your boss tells everyone at work "I don't want anyone singing" and you decide to bust out a religious song because you just "KNEW" everyone "NEEDED" to hear it, claiming Christ's message HAS to be heard, you would be SO out of a job. It has NOTHING to do with your religious affiliation and doesn't arise to discrimination. It has everything to do with your ability to do your job, which includes adhering to company policies and the directions given to you by your supervisor. You were hired to check groceries, not sing songs. The standards for public safety professionals are FAR greater. A public safety dispatcher's job isn't to editorialize or to entertain. At all. It's to relay vital PUBLIC SAFETY information.

      You willingly break the rules, you get to pay the consequences if you're caught. End of story. Any excuses for what these guys did is a giant stinking pile of FAIL.

      It's PUBLIC SAFETY radio, not the Christian Broadcast Network. Don't like it? That's too bad. Until the Church takes over all aspects of the government, that's the way it will be. Post your little religious messages on Facebook or YouTube or have a Christian radio station air it for you.

      And this isn't a jab on Christianity. Had these guys been Muslims I have no doubt there would be little sympathy for them.

      By the way. "Freedom of speech" doesn't guarantee a pulpit. Christianity doesn't guarantee you're right about anything.

  • Tom

    When told not to do it they did it anyhow
    That is insuborindation

    Stop marketing Jesus

    We all are not believers

    • Clint

      Not everyone believes in Santa, Alla,
      nor Alien life, but does anyone else catch crap
      for what they believe in?
      All The Liberals want to point fingers about tolerence for thier beliefs, but YOU BETTER BELIEVE THE SAME AS THEY DO.
      Any other belief will not be tolerated.
      Isnt that right?

      • mtnmedic

        Oh here's another fabulously misinformed conservative who thinks that this has everything to do with belief in anything.

        Get a clue:

        They were TOLD not to transmit Christmas-related chatter. Not only did they disobey that order from their bosses, they put on a nearly three-minute sermon. Disobeying your boss so brazenly is a surefire way to lose your job.

        They violated Federal regulations. Committing a crime in the commission of your job is also a surefire way to get fired.

        They boasted their acts and acknowledged that what they did was wrong and they could lose their jobs on Facebook. This essentially tells everyone they don't care about their jobs.

        It has NOTHING to do with belief in God, aliens, Santa, witches, ghosts, goblins, a capitalist system that actually fosters caring about people, etc.

        It has EVERYTHING to do with their ability or inability to do their job as they were instructed to. Go ahead, ask any employer if he/she would put up with gross insubordination.

    • Preacher

      That is sad Tom... Even though you may not believe, why are you choosing to exhibit disgust to those who may need faith in their lives? No one is MARKETING JESUS. We are sharing hope and love... GOD BLESS YOU TOM, and I'll be praying that you find the need to believe....

      • mtnmedic

        Marketing Jesus or sharing "hope and love"-it's all the same if you do it over GOVERNMENT RADIO. Which, by the way, is illegal in more ways than one.

        Not only that, it's STUPID. That's a PUBLIC SAFETY system. Let me define that for you: FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY.

        I applaud your devotion to God, but I deplore your audacity to think that this stunt is entirely innocent rather than brazen and willfully ignorant.

  • Rick S.

    "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you." -- Matthew 5:11

    I have no problem with the men being disciplined for breaking the rules. I hope the rules are enforced consistently and fairly.

    May God bless America.

    • Gods Child

      why would God bless American when American does not bless God

    • mtnmedic

      FINALLY....a person of faith who actually GETS it!

      Thank you for having a little clarity. I applaud your strength of faith and your understanding that wrongdoing has consequences, no matter what they be.

  • Roswell

    The stupidity of this religeous fanatic Alt is almost beyond comprehension. He isn't fit to answer 911 calls.

    • what up with that?

      word in the community is that both dispatchers were excellent at their job and had been praised highly by the director, even on the social media for they way they handled themselves in emergency situations. Maybe and unwise decision, but not a reason for dismissal...they were offering a message of hope on a holiday when suicide and depression are at the highest. .Perhaps that message helped prevent an emergency call...

      • mtnmedic


        1) The not only WILLFULLY disobeyed a direct order not to do something, they did it brazenly so. Most employers will think about dismissing you if you are so insubordinate.

        2) They violated Federal regulations while at work, which is a great way to get fired.

        3) They boasted about their deed on Facebook, which tells the world they could care less about their job. Most employers who see/hear about this would be inclined to dump you and find someone else who cares enough about their job to do it RIGHT and with a minimum of supervision.

    • Gigi

      Maybe you wouldn't be so angry if you had a bit of religion, Roswell. All you non-religious people know how to do is tear other people down. Very sad.

      • mtnmedic

        What is it with you religious people? Why don't you get a CLUE that this is PUBLIC SAFETY and not the Christian Broadcast Network? Most dispatchers care about the people who call in but they're not dumb enough to lay out a sermon on government radio.

    • Shadow

      In my life, the most compassionate people that I have known were Christians. It seems logical to me that when you select a person for a 911 system that you would want someone who cared about the individual calling. Now what is your experiences about people helping you and yours?

      • mtnmedic

        This has zero to do with Christianity and everything to do with insubordination.

    • Preacher

      And WHY is he STUPID, and WHY is he a RELIGEOUS, which is actually spelled RELIGIOUS fanatic? Just because he stands for his belief? Apparently, you have no hope in this life Roswell. And who gave you the authority to question another's belief? What make him UNFIT to answer 911 calls? You, my friend are the one who suffers from STUPIDITY... I'll be praying for you to be shown the light....

      • mtnmedic

        I'll tell you what's stupid:

        1) Disobeying your employer's direct orders and not only that, doing it so brazenly.

        2) Committing a Federal offense in the commission of your job.

        3) Boasting about it on Facebook.

        THAT'S stupid.

  • mike

    The same county talks on air about Santa every year and make jokes and other non emergent things on air. I hear it on the scanner, but they are reprimanded or written up. Maybe a write up or suspension, but to fire them. I only heard one dispatcher talking and broadcasting, why was the other fired??? Wake up people...

    • me

      OK I want to know what counties centers where that made these other Christmas messages. I know of none. I work with a 911 center and have been in the Public service field for years 20 plus years This has not been done since the early years. Tom Frayle (sp) and the funeral home use to do this years ago when they answered emergency calls for hardy county. This doesn't happen any more now that the FCC has cracked down and the use of state radio system. These boys were warned before and they even said that when they made the announcement.

      • ladyonthehill

        Hardy county did the same night and posted it on Facebook. I have hardy on my scanner.

        • mtnmedic

          It's just a matter of time before the FCC slaps them silly. Trust me, misuse of a public safety radio system isn't tolerated very well.

        • jeff

          I heard hardy county on the scanner do the same thing the same night only about Santa... sad

  • Dale

    Then why were the folks tracking Santa not fired? Tracking Santa isn't allowed by the FCC.

    • mtnmedic

      Uh, it is. Santa isn't a religion. BIG difference between NORAD doing that and spewing the story of Jesus on government public safety radio.

  • Andy

    The real question is, why does the FCC allow a public safety frequency to be used to broadcast messages about Santa? I understand that many public officials find Jesus to be offensive, but I guess I didn't know that they considered Santa to be a threat to public safety.

    • mtnmedic

      Santa isn't a religion. Broadcasting religion over government airwaves is a violation of separation of Church and State in the First Amendment.

      But this isn't about faith or belief. They were fired for gross insubordination. The fact that they transmitted a religious message over government public safety radio only means that they violated Federal regulations.

  • DAVE


    • Jason412

      Yeah, they probably just would of been lynched. If their boss told them not to play a message about Ramadan and they played it it's just as insubordinate as playing something about Christmas after you were told not to.

      I'd bet the boss, like the majority of WV, identifies as Christian, but like most bosses, can't stand insubordination.

      • mtnmedic


        And here, folks, we have our winner!

        This is the post that explains it all!

  • wvu999

    Its simple, they were specifically told not to do something and they did it. In what job is insubordination tolerated? You are letting the fact that this something that you believe in skew your decision making.

    Too bad you rightwingers dont believe in unions. Probably would have helped here.

    • mntrbob

      So wvu999, it is ok to be insubordinate if you are part of a union,
      shouldn't the same standards apply? I guess maybe this dispatcher should worship the unions instead of God.

      • wvu999

        Or foxnews

        • mntrbob

          Spoken like a true intolerent liberal.

          • wvu999

            Intolerant liberal
            Is that even possible????

    • Jason412

      Good post wvu999 and I completely agree that people are focusing more on what the message was about and not the guy was clearly insubordinate.

      He acknowledges he "was told not to do it" in the first few seconds then towards the end "I may lose my job"

      Obviously, regardless of what he was talking about, he deserved to lose his job.

      • just me

        They did not lose their jobs until after all the other employees had their CHRISTmas break , that is showing real honesty on their bosses part ,just making sure they all had their time of to celebrate CHRISTmas before they fired them. Why would they want to celebrate CHRISTmas if they are fighting these guys so hard about a CHRISTmas message

      • zero tolerance

        "Keeping insubordinate employees their jobs since 1955"


  • Debby King

    But of course, fire them....that's the way things are these days. God has been removed from our lives...seems we don't have a choice anymore but to do what 'big brother' says we must do.
    I APPLAUD THESE 2 MEN with a standing ovation. God will provide for them for keeping and spreading His message.
    I wish I had been able to hear the Christmas message they delivered. AMEN to them & may God Bless them richly.

    • Uncle Unctuous

      "I wish I had been able to hear the Christmas message they delivered."

      There is audio of the message embedded at the top of this web page. And the Christmas story is readily available to anyone who care to avail themselves of it.

      "God has been removed from our lives...seems we don't have a choice anymore but to do what 'big brother' says we must do."

      This statement betrays either a fundamental lack of understanding or a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. Either way, it saddens me.

      If God has been removed from someone's life, it is their own doing alone. After all, there are churches everywhere. All are free to attend church, or not to attend. Religion is all around us, in our communities, on the internet, television, books. We are all free to practice our chosen religion, or not. This dispatcher continues to be free to proselytize in his private life. What we are not free to do is to promote religion on behalf of the government.

    • GregG

      Would you be "clapping" if these two men would have aired a message supporting gays & lesbians? Or maybe a pro abortion message? Would you be shouting "Amen" and "blessing" them if they had been inviting everyone to a swingers X-mas party? Stop playing the religion card, they broke the rules. Period.

      • just me

        no stupid the bible does not support gays and lesbians would would Christians

  • Rob T.

    They have taken Jesus out of everything else! Why not Christmas?

    • Uncle Unctuous

      Stop being hysterical. Jesus hasn't been taken out of everything. You must be frequenting places where He isn't mentioned. Maybe try going to church.

  • Dale

    Fired?? What about a reprimand or suspension? Tracking Santa OK but can't mention Jesus?

    • james

      They were told not to do it and they did. BUT...has the agency fired for every case of insubordination? I seriously doubt it. If they haven't this is bordering very close to discrimination for religion. Get a lawyer boys!

      • mtnmedic

        They violated Federal regulations in the commission of their jobs. Last I checked, committing a crime at work is a surefire way to lose your job. Unless, of course, you work for the mob.