Genesee Community College Foundation Unveils New Scholarships for Volunteer Firefighters and Family Members

Volunteer firefighters and other volunteer emergency responders throughout the Genesee-Livingston-Orleans-Wyoming region, and members of their immediate families, are now eligible for Genesee Community College’s new Benjamin Franklin scholarships, funded through the Genesee Community College Foundation, Foundation President John C. Dwyer announced today.

The Benjamin Franklin scholarships are believed to be the first privately-funded scholarships for volunteer emergency responders in New York State. The idea for the scholarships came from New York State Assemblyman Stephen M. Hawley, a former Genesee Community College Foundation board member. Assemblyman Hawley became concerned about the vitality of many volunteer firefighting companies in Western New York over the last year, and suggested the scholarship program as a way to recognize the service of volunteer responders and to encourage more citizens to become involved in their local fire and ambulance companies.

During its first year, the scholarship program will provide up to twenty (20) scholarships of $500 each, renewable for a second year of study. Applications are now being accepted. Any individual who has served as a volunteer firefighter or volunteer emergency responder in the GLOW region for at least a year is eligible to apply, as are spouses, children, and grandchildren of volunteer responders. In the event that more applications are received than can be funded, scholarship decisions will be made based on applicants’ financial need and academic background.

The scholarship program is named for Benjamin Franklin, one of the founders of the United States and the founder of America’s first volunteer firefighting company.

About 175,000 residents of the Genesee-Livingston-Orleans-Wyoming region are protected by 65+ volunteer fire companies.

Assemblyman Hawley praised the efforts of volunteer firefighters, and said that the new scholarships may inspire more citizens to join volunteer fire companies.

"For over two centuries, volunteer firefighters and emergency responders have protected our communities and saved lives,” Mr. Hawley said. “They represent the spirit of giving and caring that has made our nation great. The new Benjamin Franklin Scholarship is one way for our communities to say 'thank you' to these volunteers for the valuable service they perform. Just as important, by recognizing the service of these volunteers, we encourage others to step forward and join the ranks of our volunteer emergency responders. This new scholarship program can be a model for communities across New York State. I am pleased and proud to have played a part in launching this innovative new program."

In addition to the Benjamin Franklin Scholarship, the Foundation is also funding a special full-tuition scholarship for a member of the Town of Batavia Volunteer Fire Department, or a spouse, child, or grandchild of a member, Mr. Dwyer said. The Town of Batavia Firefighters Scholarship recognizes the contributions of that fire company to Genesee Community College and the Genesee Community College Foundation. “The Foundation’s Board of Directors is especially grateful for the protection that the Town of Batavia firefighters provided to students who reside at College Village, the student residence operated by the College Foundation,” Mr. Dwyer said. “We are deeply grateful for the dedication and professionalism of these volunteers, who go out of their way to ensure that our resident students remain safe.”

The Genesee Community College Foundation is a charitable organization that provides volunteer and financial support to Genesee Community College and its students. The Foundation is governed by a 30-member Board of Directors, comprised of many of the region’s leading business and civic leaders. Last year, the Foundation provided funding for more than 300 scholarships for Genesee Community College students, according to Mr. Dwyer.

Genesee Community College Scholarship application is available online at: http://www.genesee.edu/_content/depts/admissions/financial/downloads/Foundation.pdf

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Editor’s Note:
A photograph taken at Genesee Community College announcing the new Benjamin Franklin scholarship program is available at: http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/BenFranklinScholarship.jpg

Standing left to right are: Rick Ensman, Genesee’s Director of Development and External Affairs; Stuart Steiner, President of Genesee Community College; Stephen Hawley, NYS Assemblman; Patti Michalak, Town of Batavia Council member; Greg Post, Town Supervisor, Town of Batavia; Debbie Finkle, Secretary, Perry Fire Department; Randy McIntire, Assistant Chief, Town of Batavia Fire Department; John Dwyer, President, Genesee Community College Foundation.
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