Advancing Liberty Through Action

Why This Firefighter of the Year Was Fired

Oct 28, 2021

A Florida “Firefighter of the Year” is no longer fighting fires; now he is fighting COVID shot mandates. First responders in Orange County, Florida, are serving a rising number of people with adverse reactions to the COVID jab. Now they must either get this same jab that demanded their emergency care or lose the job they love.

About 500 firefighters in Orange County are refusing these shots, forcing the county mayor to back down from threats to fire them. Don’t miss what this firefighter reveals below. —Mat

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Jason Wheat has been a firefighter for 17 years. He was named Florida’s Firefighter of the Year in 2019. Now this brave first responder is fighting his mayor, who is punishing firefighters and other first responders for refusing to take the COVID shots.

“We’re not for or against the vaccine,” Wheat explains. “It’s about freedom of choice. If we’re of sound mind, we should be able to decide what we put in our bodies.”

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, married to Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) who led the House prosecution of Donald Trump, issued a decree requiring all public employees get the jab by Sept. 30. First responders were initially told they would be fired if they did not obey—no exceptions. Many refused.

According to Jason, many of the first responders fear the shot because they have responded to calls where people have been seriously harmed or died shortly after taking a COVID injection.

Many also have religious objections because aborted fetal cell lines were used in the development or testing of all the COVID shots. And still others, Jason says, simply object because they feel they should have a right to choose what to put in their own bodies.

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Mayor Demings quickly realized the county could lose as many as 500 firefighters (38% of the force). He then removed the termination threat and instead demanded that each person who refuses the shots receive an official reprimand on their employment record—even if the employee filed a religious or medical exemption.

A formal reprimand has a severe long-term impact on the careers of first responders, affecting pay, promotions and future employment.

However, when Orange County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Davis refused to fire OR reprimand his staff as demanded, he was fired.

Jason reports that vaccinated employees are bullying and harassing what some call “the dirty unvaccinated.” That harassment is leading to dangerous situations among first responders. Similar to the airline employees we represent, stress is creating serious safety concerns. Worse yet, the fire department has suffered three suicides since these mandates began.

First responders personally see firsthand the suffering represented in the latest Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) numbers. It shows 818,042 shot injuries, 92,017 urgent care visits, 83,412 hospitalizations and 26,199 permanent disabilities from the COVID shots as of Oct. 15, 2021. And these numbers likely reflect less than 1% of the total number of injuries and deaths!

A few short years ago, this tyranny would have been unthinkable! Now anyone who does not bow the knee—or bare the arm—is bullied and/or fired! Our ministry is fighting for people who are facing this oppression. You can stand with these men and women under pressure and make sure they have the resources to give them the best chance to win back their freedom.

Help us STOP THESE SHOT MANDATES! Our Challenge Grant will DOUBLE your gift.

Desperate pleas for help pour in every day. The abuse and harassment of these precious people can be emotionally overwhelming. Daily we hear fear and anger in the voices of people asking and pleading for help.

“I am a … firefighter with 26+ years of service. We need your help immediately! My co-workers are caving in to the pressure to take this COVID-19 vaccine or be fired. They need a sign of hope.”

“I filled out [my company’s] Religious Exemption form. … It is an understatement to say I have experienced extreme stress, illness, and sleepless nights, and many other effects based on [their] unwillingness to communicate their intentions regarding this mandate.”

“I have very strong Christian beliefs which force me to not take this mandated COVID vaccine. … I need your help in knowing how best to request a religious exemption. We’ve started a letter based on your exemption template. We haven’t been given any guidance on the process, just told to get vaccinated.”

The past several months have been severely emotionally exhausting. But each call for help also builds our resolve to stand against the evil dictates of out-of-control, power-mad officials.

We also receive many exuberant responses from people who obtained a religious exemption with our help.

But that is not all your support enables.

In addition to helping people fight the shot mandates, our staff continues to monitor threats on Capitol Hill regarding your freedom.

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Whether it’s helping defend our military heroes against Joe Biden or assisting the legal battle for health care heroes in Maine, New York, Illinois and elsewhere, we are committed to the mission of restoring freedom.

Please say a prayer for those who need our help and for our staff to have wisdom and grace in challenging times.


Mat Staver, Chairman
Liberty Counsel Action


Holt, Nanette. 2021. “Firefighters Say Florida County’s Vaccine Mandate Causing Rifts among First Responders That Compromise Public Safety.” 2021. The Epoch Times. Updated: October 25, 2021.

“Resources & Research.” Liberty Counsel Action, 2021.

‌“The OpenVAERS Project.” 2021. The OpenVAERS Project. Accessed October 26, 2021.