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Rescue Workers Unhappy About Photo Used In Political Ad

DANVILLE, Va. -- Some of the Danville (Va.) Life Saving Crew members who appeared in a mailer and TV commercial for Delegate Danny Marshall say they didn t know photos they posed for would be used in a political ad.

Marshall s campaign has used two photographs showing five members of the Life Saving Crew in front of an ambulance shaking hands with him.

Bobby Pleasant is a seven-year member of the crew and he was told the photograph would be used for a non-political purpose. The photo was taken about six months ago.

I didn t know it was going in a political ad. I didn t like it when I saw my face plastered over a political ad, Pleasant said Monday.

Tommy Widener was on duty when the photographs were taken. He did not know it was going to be used for campaign material.

I don t like to have volunteers get involved in political affairs, Widener said. The crew is for everybody and it shouldn t be a political thing. It should be for everyone in our community.

Widener said people have stopped him about appearing in the advertisement. That bothers him.

People think I m politically backing Danny, said Widener, a 10-year veteran of the crew.

Mike Wiles doesn t know why the people in the ads are upset. He was pretty sure the photograph would be used in a political campaign.

However, he said the photograph could give the perception that the life saving crew is backing Marshall.

It didn t bother me. I like Danny Marshall, Wiles said.

Wiles said the crew members who are bothered by their images being used are die hard Democrats. Wiles said it is not unusual for Marshall to stop by the crew hall and talk to people on duty.

I pretty sure I m not, Widener said when asked if he was a Democrat.

Crew Chief Robbie Woodall said politicians come by the crew hall all the time. The crew tries to be non-political. He said Tomer attended the crew s meeting on Monday.

Woodall said Marshall has helped the life saving crew in several ways, including helping Marshall get appointed to a state rescue squad board. He added that Marshall is researching benefits for volunteer firefighters and rescue squad members.

We have nothing to apologize for, Woodall said.

Challenger Adam Tomer agreed, but said an apology is called for just the same.

Danny Marshall should apologize for using the Danville Life Saving Crew for political gain, Tomer said. Danny can t just do whatever he wants to do. People who appear in my ads are asked to sign a waiver.

Contact staff writer Bernard Baker at bbaker@registerbee.com or at (434) 791-7986.

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