Laid Off Gary, Indiana Firefighter Turns to Panhandling to Provide for his Family

I will admit it, I cannot stand panhandlers. It is illegal to panhandle where I live and that makes me happy. The reason why I cannot stand them is because typically they are unkempt and not pleasant to look at.

Gary, Indiana has one of the most well dressed panhandlers. No, he is not wearing a tuxedo or even a suit. He is wearing his turnout gear and leather helmet.

Kyle Telechan | The Times Laid-off Gary firefighter Jason Pickering, of Valparaiso, stands Monday near Gary City Hall with a sign seeking donations. One of 34 firefighters laid off last month, the father of four said he can't get by on unemployment alone. He said he took in $400 in charity in four hours Sunday.

It is apparently very effective. He made $400 in just 4 hours on Sunday…that is $100 an hour. Not bad money.

That is no way to live though.

Jason Pickering is doing what any of us would do, he is providing for his family. Pickering was one of the 34 firefighters laid off by Gary, Indiana.

Shame on them.

The savings is $1.2 million. Obviously, Pickering panhandling is also providing the public with a view of what the City has done to 34 of their employees.

While some might say that Pickering should just go get another job…I say keep doing what you are doing. $100 an hour isn’t bad. Maybe the City will come up with some other way of saving money and keeping their firefighters working.

The least the City could do is give them a different job in the City until an opening comes up in the Fire Department.