Fund set up to help first responders who responded to school shooting
By WFSB Staff
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -
Lawmakers in Connecticut announced Wednesday that the General Assembly is planning a vote to create a special fund to assist people that suffered psychological trauma as a result of their work related to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.
The Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Fund is expected to be funded through private donations and would provide support to volunteer and professional workers that are suffering from mental health issues in the wake of the tragedy.
Newtown detectives Daniel Mcanaspie and Jason Frank were at Sandy Hook Elementary School within 15 minutes of the shooting. They saw some of the most horrible things and what they saw has scarred them.
After that terrible day, they took some time off. And then went back to work thinking they were OK, but they weren't.
"We have a lot of pride, but some of us come back too early," Frank said. "And we realized we should have stayed home and rested a little longer."
Some of the first responders have run out of out sick time and need more counseling for what could be post traumatic stress disorder.
"They need more sick time to cope with the trauma," said House Speaker Brendan Sharkey.
Private companies are pitching in to help those in need such as police officers, firefighters, teachers and EMTs as well as other professionals and volunteers.
"As a mother of three elementary children, I can't imagine this," said Stephanie McMahon of WWE. "We wanted to help out."
The money donated will pay for extra sick time and more counseling.
According to officials, traditionally, worker's compensation doesn't cover most workers that are suffering only from mental injuries.
"The creation of this fund fills a huge void in which many of those who responded first on Dec. 14 in Sandy Hook continue to find themselves," said House Republican Leader Larry Cafero in a statement. "Just as the families of the victims will never be the same, many of the men and women first on the scene to help that day at Sandy Hook Elementary have had their lives altered. This dedicated fund is a step toward helping these good people achieve some semblance of normality, whether it is getting help returning to work or finding healthcare programs or other needs they may have.''
Senate President Donald Williams Jr. agreed.
"On that terrible day in December and in the days that followed, our first responders showed incredible dedication to their duty," Williams said in a statement. "What they witnessed that day has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on their lives. This fund will help those affected receive the care they need to heal and resume their careers."
Those that would be eligible for benefits from the fund include first responders, school employees and other professionals and volunteers related to the Sandy Hook shooting.
Officials said the fund would be administered by the Office of Victim Services.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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