12/04/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/04/2018 23:03
CURRAN SIGNS LEGISLATION RESTORING TUITION ASSISTANCE FOR NASSAU VOLUNTEER FIRE SERVICE MEMBERS
MINEOLA, NY - Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today held a signing of a bi-partisan emergency resolution that was unanimously approved by the Nassau County Legislature to restore funding for tuition assistance to eligible members of the Nassau County volunteer fire service pursuing an education at Nassau Community College, for the remaining 2018 semester and academic year of 2019.
'Nothing is more important to us than the public safety of Nassau County's residents. Our volunteer fire service members are saving lives on the frontlines every day, and it is essential that we support them in every way we can,' said Curran. 'This grant provided funding that was an essential tool in recruitment of new volunteer fire service members. I am disappointed that Nassau County was not awarded this critical funding, and I will continue to work with our partners in Federal government to secure these dollars. I commend the County Legislature for their advocacy on this very important issue. I am signing this resolution to ensure that our volunteer fire service has the support they need to increase retention and recruitment and can continue their brave and selfless work.'
'I am proud to have sponsored funding of the SAFER resolution that reinstitutes the tuition assistance incentive for qualified Fire Fighters and Emergency Responders at Nassau County Community College,' said Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello. 'This program will encourage recruitment new Fire Fighters and First Responders and is an educational incentive for the men and women who will avail themselves of this opportunity.'
This legislation was spearheaded by Legislator Siela Bynoe and Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton.
'Every day, volunteer firefighters and EMTs across Nassau County put their lives on the line to protect our communities. Ensuring these courageous citizens have every opportunity to pursue a brighter future through the opportunities afforded by the SAFER grant program is the least we can do to express our appreciation,' Legislator Bynoe, the lead sponsor of the measure, said. 'I am grateful that my colleagues addressed this matter swiftly and thank County Executive Curran for signing this legislation today.'
'When the call for help comes, Nassau County's first responders are always there for us in our hour of need. That's why it is so important for the Nassau County Legislature to do all we can to support these brave volunteers,' Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton, who co-sponsored the proposal with Legislator Bynoe, said. 'I applaud Legislator Bynoe for her diligence in addressing this matter and thank my fellow legislators and County Executive Curran for supporting this important legislation.'
This funding was previously provided through a $1.6 million multi-year Federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security awarded in 2014 known as 'Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response' (SAFER). For the Fall of 2018 semester, there were 177 student participants in the program, 74 of them new. An average of about 200 students have participated each semester since the Fall of 2015 semester, when the grant began. The resolution will require allocation of additional County funds.
Curran was joined by members of the Nassau County Legislature, Nassau County Fire Service Academy, and the Nassau County Volunteer Fire Service, and Chief Fire Marshal Scott Tusa, and Commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management Steven Morelli.