Sandy Hook first responders, teachers, and others who have suffered the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are getting some much needed help. (Published Wednesday, March 6, 2013)
They ran into danger the day 20 students and 6 educators were gunned down inside Sandy Hook Elementary, but now the first responders, teachers and others who have suffered the effects of post-traumatic stress are getting some much needed help.
The Newtown Police Department continues to cope with the horror they experienced on December 14 and the days and weeks that followed.
Most of the officers have returned to work but many continue to have challenges.
"Some of us come back too early and realize we should have stayed home and rested a little longer," Det. Jason Frank, a 17-year veteran of the Newtown Police Department, said.
Current workers compensation laws don't allow first responders and others to take time off for post-traumatic stress disorder.
That's why a bipartisan group of state lawmakers formed The Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Fund. It will be administered by the state but funded through private donations.
AT&T, Dominion Resources, Covidien, WWE, CT Trial Lawyers, Northeast Utilities, CT Bar Association as well as The New England Cable Television Association are contributing to the fund.
Companies have already pledged several hundred thousand dollars.
"I cannot imagine the horror and tragedy that these first responders, teachers, I can't imagine what they saw and went through," Stephanie McMahon, of Stamford-based WWE, said. "It is incredibly important to unite together to support this community."
WWE pledged $10,000 and McMahon said she will personally match that amount.
It's estimated that between 150 and 200 people could be helped by this fund. The United Way will also take donations from the public.
Both the House and Senate easily passed the bill Wednesday.
"This fund reflects the generosity, compassion and appreciation of people throughout the state and shows how Connecticut can come together as a community," Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, said.
Governor Malloy expressed full support for the fund and said he will sign it into law.
“While eighty-two days have passed, the anguish of that day is still raw for many," Malloy said in a statement. "In the depth of that anguish, we in government have undertaken a critically important debate, one where complete consensus will be difficult if not impossible. But that should not stop us from doing the good and decent things that honor those who serve our communities, especially those who have done so admirably in our darkest hour."
Published at 5:49 PM EDT on Mar 6, 2013