NEW CITY – County Executive Ed Day and Fire & Emergency Services Director Chris Kear distributed some of the first college scholarships to emergency responders.
The Higher Education Recruitment & Retention Opportunities, or H.E.R.R.O., is a newly launched college tuition assistance program for volunteer fire fighters and emergency responders.
Aidan Carton, a Nyack Fire Department volunteer, received a $1,585.00 reimbursement for his education at Alfred College of Technology and Dylan Habif, a Nanuet EMS volunteer, received a $2,285.00 reimbursement for his education at the University of Buffalo, both under the H.E.R.R.O. program.
EMS agencies respond annually to over 40,000 calls per year and fire departments respond to over 9,000 calls per year. These first responders’ agencies are currently experiencing a critical need to recruit and retain members. As an incentive for county residents to serve at volunteer fire departments and EMS agencies, the County of Rockland has developed the H.E.R.R.O. program for volunteer first responder agencies. The program provides up to $6,000 a year ($3,000 per semester) in tuition reimbursement to any college for volunteers dedicated service within the county if they meet certain eligibility requirements.
The County also partnered with Rockland Community College to launch the RCC Edges Program, or Educational Development & Growth for Emergency Services, which waives tuition to RCC for volunteer emergency responders.
“To our first responders know that we appreciate all that you do, and this is our way of saying thank you,” said County Executive Ed Day.
“These programs are a great way to assist fire departments and ambulance corps in recruiting and retaining volunteers,” explained Fire and Emergency Services Director Chris Kear. “Supporting our volunteers is also crucial to maintaining these voluntary services which save taxpayers a lot of money.”
The County encourages Fire & EMS volunteers to learn more about both programs on their website.