SANDOVAL, IL — The sister of an Illinois volunteer firefighter with Down syndrome is voicing her disappointment and anger on Facebook after her brother quit the Sandoval Fire Department because he was bullied. On Thursday, Kristin Sian wrote she was made aware that her brother, Jason Eagan, quit his job a few months ago due to harassment, and claims some department members referred to him as a “retard.”
According to WITI, 33-year-old Eagan became a volunteer firefighter in Sandoval in 2016, despite debates when he first applied. But because he passed the physical test and completed the paperwork, the department couldn’t turn him away.
Sian said her brother responded to “every single call” while on the job, and is an incredible person with an “amazing drive and heart.” However, the family claims a number of firefighters made fun of Eagan, and even removed him from the emergency paging system, Sian said.
According to the news report, Eagan’s family is contacting attorneys and disability advocates in the hopes that those who harassed Eagan will be held responsible.
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Sian posted updates to her Facebook Monday afternoon, thanking people, including firefighters from across the nation, for sending messages of love and support. The sister also said the Sandoval Fire Department is having a meeting with trustees Tuesday evening and has once again offered Jason a job. However, Sian said as his family, they “must make sure this issue” doesn’t happen again.
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