Bill could fund program for free continuing education to volunteer 1st responders

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A program to fund college tuition for volunteer first responders is getting a guarantee from Nassau lawmakers.

The free tuition program for first responders is funded by a federal grant program. But last year, funding was pulled.

To ensure the program continues in Nassau County, legislators are announcing a law that would always make sure the free tuition program is funded.

Bellmore volunteer firefighter Ron Gibney, who is getting his associate's degree at Nassau Community College, says this program is a great help.

VIDEO: Volunteer firefighter says free tuition program gives him 'peace of mind'

"I feel great about it. It's definitely something stress-relieving. You don't have to worry about being in debt when you graduate from college. It gives me peace of mind that I'm able to stay here in Nassau County and continue my volunteer service," said Gibney.

A total of 170 volunteer first responders are currently enrolled in the program, which this year's federal grant money paid for. Legislators estimate it would cost the county about half a million dollars a year to replace federal dollars.

The Nassau Legislature is expected to vote on the tuition bill for volunteer first responders by the end of the month.

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