1. #1
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    Thumbs up New C. Kangas Development

    For those unfamiliar with the case, you can do a forum search for Kangas.

    MEDIA RELEASE
    Contact: John G. Tomaszewski
    (202) 225-2011 • john.tomaszewski@mail.house.gov

    KANGAS RULING A VICTORY FOR HIS LEGACY AND JUNIOR VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY

    UPPER DARBY, Pa. (29 Mar.) – On Monday, almost four years after the death of junior volunteer firefighter Christopher Kangas, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled that Kangas is eligible to receive Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB). U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), vice chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and founder of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, hailed the ruling as vindication for Kangas’s family and the thousands of junior volunteer firefighters across the country. Weldon is introducing a congressional resolution to recognize the Kangas family on their victory and urge that yesterday’s ruling not be appealed.

    In May 2002, Kangas, a 14-year old junior firefighter from Brookhaven Fire Company in Congressman Weldon’s District, died en route to a fire emergency. The Department of Justice (DOJ) ruled that Kangas was not eligible for the PSOB federal benefit provided to public safety officers injured or killed while on duty, because he did not meet the statutory definition of a firefighter.

    Congressman Weldon, a former fire chief from Marcus Hook, Pa. and the fire service’s leading advocate in Congress, testified for Kangas at the initial hearing to appeal the DOJ ruling. He also introduced bipartisan legislation preventing the DOJ from denying firefighter eligibility for PSOB status because of age or duty restrictions as long as the person is an official member of a fire department. The Christopher Kangas Fallen Firefighter Apprentice Act (H.R. 1456) calls for a retroactive application of PSOB benefits from the date of Kangas’s death and would ensure that he and thousands of other junior firefighters across the country receive the recognition and benefits they deserve.

    “The future of America’s fire service is in young people like Christopher Kangas and we cannot let them be forgotten. As the number of volunteer firefighters decline each year, more departments are depending on young people to fill in the ranks,” said Rep. Weldon. “Monday’s ruling is a significant step toward ensuring that our nation’s junior volunteer firefighters will be afforded the same recognition and privileges that their colleague’s already receive. I urge the Justice Department not to appeal this ruling, and for Congress to pass the Kangas Bill.”

    "In order to protect their communities, firefighters have to put themselves in harms way. When Christopher Kangas responded to a fire call and died tragically as a result, he was no different than any of the more than 100 firefighters who die each year risking their lives to protect the lives and property of others,” said Philip C. Stittleburg, chairman of the National Volunteer Fire Council. “Yesterday’s federal court ruling validates Christopher's status as a firefighter and, I hope, will provide some comfort to his grieving family. I urge the DOJ to accept the court's judgment and move swiftly to process the Kangas family's rightful claim to the PSOB.”

    On April 6, 2006, Congressman Weldon will be honored at the 18th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services dinner for his work on first responder issues in Congress.

    ###
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
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    Outstanding! Some good news for once!
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Gentlemen, i think it might be time to get the fingers typing or the pens writing, i think the fire service needs to show overwhelming support for this bill. Perhaps everyone should write their local rep and ask them to support The Christopher Kangas Fallen Firefighter Apprentice Act (H.R. 1456).
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    Thumbs up

    Absolutly OUTSTANDING! Glad to hear this passed, and he is recognized! My congressman's getting a letter....
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    same here, glad to hear it. i'll be writin my congressman
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    Is there a way we can start a petition or does this need to be done on a State by State basis?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pkfd7505
    Is there a way we can start a petition or does this need to be done on a State by State basis?

    lets just flood their boxes with letters from all over.

    I also think it will have more of an impact if we each address our own State representatives inidivdually rather than one petition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by superchef
    lets just flood their boxes with letters from all over.

    I also think it will have more of an impact if we each address our own State representatives inidivdually rather than one petition.
    True, very very true. Ok here is a link to the roster for the Missouri House of Representatives and a link to the list of Missouri Senators in case some Missouri residents want to make some calls or send some letters. I know that I plan to do it.
    Last edited by pkfd7505; 03-29-2006 at 07:16 PM. Reason: to correct some spelling

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    Remember that mail still takes extra time to get to Capitol Hill...You may want to mail it to the District Office, fax, or e-mail your letter!
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
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    This is a very good thing for the family. I support it 100%
    I hate to play Devils Advocate,but I do not know much abouit this story, relating to the Jr Firefighter's death. SO here are my questions? What happened on the call? Why was a 14 yr old responding? Do you think that 14 yr old's should be able to respond to emergency calls? Like I said I would like more info on this and maybe my questions can be answered. I hope the family can find some closure. Keep Safe

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    Unhappy A Small Bit of Info..............

    Quote Originally Posted by ehs7554
    This is a very good thing for the family. I support it 100%
    I hate to play Devils Advocate,but I do not know much abouit this story, relating to the Jr Firefighter's death. SO here are my questions? What happened on the call? Why was a 14 yr old responding? Do you think that 14 yr old's should be able to respond to emergency calls? Like I said I would like more info on this and maybe my questions can be answered. I hope the family can find some closure. Keep Safe
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    And all of out west are excited in hopes we can obtain the same of the family of Anndee Huber
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehs7554
    What happened on the call? Why was a 14 yr old responding? Do you think that 14 yr old's should be able to respond to emergency calls? Like I said I would like more info on this and maybe my questions can be answered. I hope the family can find some closure. Keep Safe
    I'm happy the family is going to get the support now from the government, it's something that rarely happens. However, I do not agree that a 14 yr. old should be responding on emergency calls. He was an explorer I believe and he truly had no reason to be "responding" on an emergency call and he should never have been placed in the situation.

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    Amen ..It''s about time!!!!

    He was a recognized member of a fire department responding to an alarm. It's a shame that it has gotten hung up so long.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ehs7554
    This is a very good thing for the family. I support it 100%
    I hate to play Devils Advocate,but I do not know much abouit this story, relating to the Jr Firefighter's death. SO here are my questions? What happened on the call? Why was a 14 yr old responding? Do you think that 14 yr old's should be able to respond to emergency calls? Like I said I would like more info on this and maybe my questions can be answered. I hope the family can find some closure. Keep Safe
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE This has been hashed out over and over again...Do a thread search.....This is not the time, place, nor thread to debate all of the above. Bottom line is, he was a sworn member abiding by the rules and regulations pertaining to response set forth by his organization. There was a run, he reponded, and died in the line of duty. Whether or not he should have been allowed is in the past. If you want to argue why or why not, do it in another thread. Let this thread be used to remember Chris Kangas for what he was- a brother who gave the supreme sacrifice.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    I will withold further comment past here is the story that started it all.
    Last edited by Weruj1; 03-31-2006 at 12:21 AM.
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