Hero Fund America Fund, a field-of interest fund of The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, continues to fulfill its mission to increase awareness, advocacy and support for fire, emergency medical services (EMS), and law enforcement agencies.

Since the fund’s inception in 2016, Hero Fund America Fund has awarded five grants, totaling more than $2,200, to further the education, training and life-saving equipment needs for first responders.

The fund’s 2018 grants include the following recipients:

Niagara Engine Company No. 6 - Schoharie Fire Department

A $500 grant has been awarded to the Schoharie Fire Department in Schoharie, New York, to purchase new vehicle stabilization tools for use when responding to motor vehicle accidents.

Sharon Springs Joint Fire Department

Sharon Springs Joint Fire Department in Sharon Springs, New York, received a $500 grant to provide CPR and first aid training for all members of the fire department. Funding will also be used for the purchase of “Tot Finder” window stickers for families with small children in the fire district and handwarmers for personnel during winter emergency incidents.

Grant applications are reviewed by Community Foundation staff and recipients are selected in accordance with criteria outlined by the Hero Fund America advisory board.

“We are incredibly grateful for Hero Fund America Fund’s support of our volunteer training program,” said Tom McKellips, chairman of Global Rescue Systems. “This funding will be a big help in promoting the water rescue training for our first responders. With only a few members, our departments cover large areas of land that include several rivers and low water crossings. Our teams will gain the knowledge and tools needed to deploy a rapid rescue with only a handful of people, all the while keeping their crew safe.”

Hero Fund America Fund was founded in partnership with Hero Fund America, Inc. by Garth Roberts. Inspired by the selfless and heroic efforts of first responders during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, Roberts initiated the Provincetown First Responders Appreciation Month that honored 45 Boston EMS paramedics, EMTs, dispatchers and their families. The success of this project resulted in the formation of Hero Fund America. Roberts was honored with a special citation from Boston EMS for his efforts in response to the Boston Marathon tragedy.

“There will come a time in everyone’s life when they will require the services of a first responder,” said Roberts. “Anyone who has ever been involved in an emergency situation knows what it feels like when help finally arrives. There is not a more selfless public service profession than that of a first responder. Hero Fund America Fund recognizes the courageous acts of first responders and will continue to support these everyday heroes with the education, training and life-saving equipment they need, in perpetuity.”