Fitzpatrick, Police Chiefs Support Families of Fallen Heroes

May 14, 2013
Rep. Fitzpatrick (front) address the Bucks County Police Chiefs Association Tuesday morning in Warminster
Fitzpatrick, Police Chiefs Support Families of Fallen Heroes

WARMINSTER, PA – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) met with police chiefs at a regular gathering of local law enforcement leadership Tuesday to announce the reintroduction of legislation to help children of fallen first responders receive the benefits they deserve after suffering the loss of a parent. 

The bipartisan Fallen Hero Scholarship Act would eliminate the expected family contribution used in determining Pell Grant eligibility for the children of police officers, firefighters, or first responders who died in the line of duty.      

“We owe it to the families of our fallen heroes to make life a little easier by helping provide an education for a child who suffered such a great loss,” said Fitzpatrick. “This legislation doesn’t expand the Pell Grant program, or add any money; it expands eligibility for the children of the few hundred brave first responders who gave their lives while serving in the highest levels of community service.  

“Last year, 126 law enforcement officers lost their lives in the line of duty," Fitzpatrick added. "No compensation can make up for this loss, but by providing a more solid footing for future education we are adding another level of help for the children and their families." 

“The Children’s of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act will not only offer a portion of support to these families that are struggling with finances, it will offer our police officers a peace of mind- knowing that their children will be okay. What more can we ask as parents?” said Chief Duane Hasenauer of the Plumstead Township Police Department who was at the meeting of the Bucks County Police Chiefs Association. “I think I speak for everyone represented here when I say ‘Thank you, Congressman. Thank you for caring about our families and our children.’”

The Plumstead Township Police Department is one of the most recent departments in Bucks County to lose an officer in the line of duty. Officer Joseph Hanusey, 30, was killed in single-vehicle accident in 2002 as he rushed to aid another Plumstead officer on a rain-slicked Route 611.

Unlike a loan, a federal Pell Grant does not have to be repaid-- the maximum Pell grant for the 2011-12 award year was approximately $5,550, depending on financial need and school costs. 

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.