WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 — (via Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-NY) – Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY) announced that the House of Representatives passed her legislation to assist the victims and families of the West Webster Fire Department (WWFD) volunteers that were injured or killed in last year’s Christmas Eve tragedy in Webster, NY.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Western New Yorkers and people from across the country showed an outpouring of generosity by donating to the WWFD in order to assist the victims. However, due to IRS Code, the WWFD is currently restricted in its abilities to distribute these donations to their intended recipients. Slaughter’s legislation will allow the West Webster Fire Department to distribute the donations without further delay to the affected families, fulfilling the wishes of those that donated.
“There are no words that can heal the wounds suffered by Ted Scardino and Joe Hofstetter, and nothing we can do to bring back Mike “Chip” Chipparini and Tomasz Kaczowka,” Rep. Slaughter said. “But by passing today’s legislation we can help lessen their burden, ease their pain, and prove that even in our darkest hours, our country will be there to support our public servants, their families, and communities in need.
Slaughter has been working to move this legislation through the Congress since the spring, when West Webster firefighters and their families affected by the tragedy alerted her to the problem.
Due to a procedural move made earlier by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the bill will now move quickly through the Senate and will head to President Obama for his signature.
Due to IRS Code on 501(c)(3) organizations, the West Webster Fire Department is limited in its ability to distribute these funds directly to the affected victims and families, without putting at risk its tax-exempt status. Similar legislation was necessary to distribute charitable donations in the aftermath of 9/11 and an incident in 2006 that resulted in the deaths of several California firefighters.
Memorial Events Planned
Source: West Webster Fire Department
The West Webster Fire District and the West Webster Volunteer Firemen’s Association will be holding two events in December; the first will be the dedication of our Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial, the second will be the anniversary of December 24, 2012 ambush on Lake Road.
On December 22, 2013 at 11:00 am the Fallen Firefighters Memorial behind our Station #1, 1051 Gravel Road will be dedicated with all four families of our fallen members invited and expected to attend. Staging for media vehicles will be next to our pole barn with another area closer to the memorial to be designated that day. We anticipate the ceremony to last approximately one hour.
The public is invited to view the new memorial after 1 pm.
On December 24, 2013 a vigil will be held at 191 Lake Road. The two families of Past Chief Chiapperini and Firefighter Kaczowka have requested a private grieving period from 5:30 am to 6:00 am. No media coverage will be allowed during this period. At 6:00 am the West Webster Fire Department, joined by emergency services personnel who responded to the
scene, will hold a candlelight vigil, with the families requesting privacy.
The public is invited to view the memorial between 8:00 am to 10:00 am.