The National Law Enforcement and Firefighters Children’s Foundation (NLEAFCF) has been presented with a check for $58,000 from Cisco Systems employees in memory of Cisco employee Vincent Bennett, who passed away suddenly in 2013 – just days before the inaugural NLEAFCF Hero Awards Gala honoring Cisco with the organization’s first annual Corporate Hero Award.
More than $31,000 was donated to NLEAFCF by individual Cisco employees and former employees who attended a recent retirement party for long-term Cisco executive Carlos Dominguez. Cisco provided matching funds to the employee donations, bringing the total funds raised for the children of fallen police officers and firefighters to over $58,000.
Bennett was a prominent member on the NLEAFCF Hero Awards Gala committee. Vincent hailed from a family of first responders, and the Foundation’s cause was close to his heart.
A check was presented to the Foundation on Wednesday by Patrick Finn, Senior Vice President of the Cisco US Public Sector, and Cisco’s Brian Harkins at a luncheon attended by NLEAFCF President Alfred Kahn, NLEAFCF Executive Director, Sarahbeth Grossman, NLEAFCF Board members Jillian Crane and Dan Stevens, Vincent Bennett’s brother, Keith Bennett -a Detective with the Atlantic City Police Department – and Vincent’s son, Thomas Bennett.
“Vincent Bennett was dedicated to helping the children of fallen first responders. We were privileged to have the opportunity to gather with both the Bennett family and the Cisco family to honor Vincent’s memory,’ said NLEAFCF President Al Kahn. “When you lose a parent at a young age, it changes you forever. But it helps tremendously to see the impact that your parent’s good will and good deeds have made on others. It inspires you to live up to their legacy,” Kahn continued. “The Vincent Bennett, Jr. Memorial Scholarship is helping the children of fallen first responders across the country realize their college ambitions so they can do just that. They will be tomorrow’s heroes.”
Cisco has sponsored the NLEAFCF scholarship every year since Vincent’s passing. The “Vincent Bennett, Jr. Memorial Scholarship” is a $20,000 scholarship awarded annually to an incoming freshman who is the child of a law enforcement officer or firefighter who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. This award recognizes financial need as well as academic achievement, and the candidate must show a strong commitment to service in the community.
The National Law Enforcement & Firefighters Children’s Foundation (NLEAFCF) is dedicated to helping the children of law enforcement officers and firefighters lost or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Through grants, college scholarships and family-friendly events, the NLEAFCF serves the needs of these children across the country regardless of how long ago or how recent their loss. The Foundation’s long-term commitment is a promise to the people who defend and protect us, a major investment in our nation’s future and in tomorrow’s heroes.