FDNY spokesman Jim Long made the position of the department very clear to the New York Post asking questions about Firefighter Anthony Harper’s claims he is being ostracized because he’s a vegetarian. Long calls it “nonsense”, telling reporter Philip Messing, “Firehouses across the city have individuals who are vegetarians or who have special diets — i.e., food allergies, etc. — and they are accommodated all the time.”
But Firefighter Harper believes his problems began two-years-ago at Ladder 146 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn when he decided constant firehouse meals with chicken or meat dishes were not good for his health. Harper says opting out of those meals didn’t sit well with fellow firefighters who he says also harassed him about his food choices. Harper believes this all resulted in him being transferred to a desk job at headquarters, is impacting his chances for promotion and caused him to be the only FDNY firefighter written up because he couldn’t get to work from his Staten Island home after Hurricane Sandy.
But he said the harassment grew to the point where he became a pariah who was regularly given dangerous assignments on the roofs of burning buildings and threatened with physical violence.
One fellow firefighter, he said, head-butted him during a petty dispute about looking at a roster.
“I was fat,’’ he said. “I realized that I needed to make some changes.”
So I gave up cigars and meat, and I lost 35 pounds. And now my blood work is like it was when I was in the Army, when I was 21 years old.”
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