When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, the family faces many unexpected challenges as they begin to rebuild their lives.
All too often, survivors may be forced to postpone or abandon their educational goals because of limited financial resources. Since 1997, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Sarbanes Scholarship Programs has offered the loved ones of the fallen financial assistance to help them fulfill their educational dreams.
Recently, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and its partners awarded $246,468 in scholarship money to 78 children, two step-children and two spouses of fallen firefighters for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Of the 82 recipients, 55 previously received scholarships and 27 are new awardees. They represent 29 different states and will attend institutions in 35 states to prepare for careers ranging from Nursing to Aerospace Engineering as well as Fire Science.
“Because the firefighter who died in the line of duty was often the primary earner, many families are grappling with significant financial hurdles,” explained Chief Ron Siarnicki, executive director of the NFFF. “The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and our generous partners are very pleased to be able to provide this important financial assistance to these deserving men and women so that they can pursue their educational dreams and achieve their career goals.”
The Motorola Foundation generously awarded $213,468 to the 82 recipients. In addition, ICMA-RC awarded $15,000 to 13 individuals, Global Health & Safety awarded four $2,000 scholarships for a total of $8,000 and National Association of State Fire Marshal’s awarded $1,000 scholarships to 10 recipients.
The Sarbanes Scholarship Program is named in honor of U. S. Senator Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland who was a strong supporter of education and America’s fire service family. Senator Sarbanes authored the legislation that created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation in 1992. Since the program began in 1997, the NFFF has awarded over $2,205,000 to applicants while the Foundation’s partners have awarded $618,390 since 2001.
The scholarship program provides assistance to spouses, life partners, children, and stepchildren of firefighters honored at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Scholarships are awarded for undergraduate and graduate studies, vocational-technical training, and certification and job training programs.
They may be used for study at in-state or out-of-state public and private schools. To be eligible, children must be under age 30 presently and have been under age 22 at the time of their firefighter’s death. All applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalency, or must be in their final year of high school. For more information about the 2013-2014 Sarbanes Scholarship and previous recipients, go to http://www.firehero.org/.