Facebook Wedding Invite Ignites Controversy for 2 NJ Firefighters
Two Garfield volunteer firefighters are taking a lot of heat after posting a wedding invitation on Facebook that featured a picture of their respective Fire Department turnout coats.
The soon-to-be-married couple is now facing possible disciplinary action as a result of the March 17 photo, which apparently violated a rule prohibiting the use of fire department equipment on social media platforms.
Paul Mellor, 27, and Danielle Szep, 26 are getting married on May 21. Mellor said the couple thought the playful post would be something positive for the department, where he has volunteered for six years. He proposed to Szep at a fire department function. She's been a volunteer since 2009, the article states.
Fire department officials told Mellor that Szep would be suspended if she didn't remove the post from her page, which she did - along with every other fire department picture she had.
According to Mellor, the couple knew some type of social media policy existed but the specifics weren't clearly defined before the picture was posted.
"We were aware of a policy that was put into place but we were told via text message about the policy and it didn't clearly outline what we could or could not post," Mellor told Townsquare Media.
Mellor told the New York Post he intends to take photos of his “traditional fire department wedding” in May and post them on social media for his friends and family.
The volunteer firefighter told Townsquare Media that he and Szep have recieved "tons of support" from firefighters locally and as far away as Canada since word spread about the photo.
"I've been getting tons of support from other fire fighters from within the Garfield fire department and from various other firefighter from around the state with the furthest response being from a fire captain from Canada, and I've had tons of firefighters send me their wedding pictures with their apparatuses," Mellor said Sunday.
According to Mellor, fire officials and the Garfield City Council are currently working to make changes to the volunteer department's social media policy.
Fire Chief James Kovacs Sr. could not be reached for comment.