Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has announced the launch of a new “Vets to Vollies” campaign to encourage veterans or recently discharged military personnel to join their local fire department or emergency medical service agency. The initiative is part of the Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services’ (FRES) ongoing commitment to recruit new members of the local fire service.
Suffolk County FRES will collaborate with various county agencies, including the Suffolk County Veterans Service Agency and the Suffolk County Deputy Fire Coordinator Program, to conduct an extensive outreach program at active military installations.
“Suffolk County is home to the largest veterans’ population in New York State, and we are committed to providing high quality services and opportunities to our local heroes,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “Providing options through our ‘Vets to Vollies’ initiative shows our commitment to assist our veterans when they return home. Many of the skills and job duties performed in the service are applicable and imperative to being a first responder and can save lives in our communities.”
“Vets to Vollies’ is not only intended to encourage perspective residents to be a part of the fire service, but to genuinely connect those who were recently discharged from service and are looking for a sense of belonging or guidance as they rehabilitate back to everyday life,” said Suffolk County FRES Commissioner Patrick Beckley. “I remember my own experience of being recalled after 9/11 to serve in the Navy, and I remembered how if felt when my 18 months was completed. I had to reintegrate myself back into my civilian job and civilian life, and it was difficult. This program can be of great service to those who are in need of guidance.”
The first ‘Vets to Vollies’ event is scheduled to take place at the 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton in May 2022, with subsequent events to follow in various locations throughout Suffolk County.
Following a brief presentation, recruitment specialists from Suffolk County will be available to discuss the many benefits available to potential first responders. Benefits include property tax reductions, state income tax benefits, free health checkups, free insurance, college tuition reimbursement, service pensions, free equipment and training, and more.
Candidates who are interested in becoming a first responder can go to www.suffolksbravest.com/volunteernow. In addition, those who are interested in learning more about the initiative or are interested in hosting future ‘Vets to Vollies’ events are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services (FRES) is committed to serving both the 1.5 million residents of Suffolk County and the more than 11,000 emergency responders who are dedicated to saving lives and protecting property.