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Grassroots Organization Aims to Help Fallen Heroes

New bill would aid families of fallen police, firefighters, and EMTs.

The First Responder Institute, a grassroots organization of police officers, firefighters, and paramedics, has started a campaign to honor the service and sacrifice of Paramedic Daniel McIntosh by telling his story. 

Congressman Fitzpatrick is also honoring Danny’s memory by sponsoring legislation that would enable emergency service responders to obtain relief under the Public Safety Officer's Benefit (PSOB) program.

This bill (HR 1668) was inspired by the line-of-duty death of Daniel McIntosh and federal government’s subsequent denial of relief to the widow and two children of the fallen paramedic. According to Bill Finegan, the president of the American First Responder Institute, the family was denied equal protection under the law due to the fact that McIntosh's employer, the Bensalem Rescue Squad, was a non-profit organization as opposed to an agency of local government.

"The bill, HR1668 Danny McIntosh Emergency Medical Service Providers Protection Act, has been 'referred to committee,'" Finegan said in an e-mail to Bensalem Patch, "committee is where most bills die." This bill is attempting to close the stupid loophole that denied benefits to Mrs. McIntosh and potentially denies benefits to more than one hundred thousand EMTs and Paramedics across the country.

"When EMTs feel as though their families are covered financially should something happen to them in the line of duty, they act more aggressively," Finegan explained. "And the irony is that their confidence actually decreases the likelihood of accidents or death because the emergencies they respond to tend to worsen with the passage of time."

There is hope, however. According to the First Responder Institute, two things need to get done before another surviving spouse is denied.  We need members of Congress across the nation to co-sponsor the bill, and the bill needs to move out of the Judiciary Committee to be voted on by our Representatives on the floor of the House. And Patch readers can help.

"Getting the word out about the Danny’s story, getting it to ‘go viral' to people across the nation, would honor Danny Mac’s memory and potentially close this stupid loophole," Finegan said. "People can definitely help through use of social media, like Facebook and Twitter."

To read Danny’s story and to get more information about this cause, or to help, you can visit the American First Responder Institute of Heraldry. If you would like to be a part of this grassroots movement, feel free to e-mail Bill Finegan.

Rob June 04, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Thank you Congressman Fitzpatrick for help bringing this issue to the forefront.

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