Senate Bill Seeks Matching Funds for Training Volunteers

Senate Bill Seeks Matching Funds for Training Volunteers

A bill to restore matching funds for training volunteer firemen has been introduced in the United States Senate by Senator J. Caleb Boggs and 26 cosponsors. An amendment last year to the Vocational Educational Act of 1963 limited the use of matching funds to educational programs which prepare students for employment. Inasmuch as volunteers are not “employed” as fire fighters, their training is now not qualified for matching funds.

This legal inequity was brought to the attention of the Delaware Republican senator by Louis J. Amabili, director of the Delaware State Fire School, which conducts nearly all its training for volunteer firemen.

Option for states

In introducing the bill in the Senate on July 16, Boggs said, “Several states, including Delaware, have devoted considerable sums of money to establish training facilities to enable these volunteers to perfect their skills. This legislation would give to each state the option of supporting this training by assigning portions of vocational education money to it.”

Boggs spoke of the estimated 1.8 million volunteer firemen in the United States and declared, “We all are aware of the fine work they do throughout the country. These men devote large amounts of time to their companies and put up with great inconvenience to serve their communities. The existence of the volunteer companies guarantees many small communities protection from fire and accident at no—or little—cost to the taxpayer.”

Support sought

Amabili has urged that fire fighting organizations and individual fire fighters write to their senators and representatives and ask them to support this bill. He also asked that a copy of each letter be sent to Senator J. Caleb Boggs, U. S. Senate, 4107 New Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. 20510.

“With the support of the fire service, paid and volunteer,” Amabili said, “I feel confident that this important legislation can be passed.”

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