LEPC to offer grants

Auglaize County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) members plan to offer scholarships for professional development for all types of emergency personnel.

Wapakoneta Fire Chief Kendall Krites, who serves as LEPC chair, said after being approached about funding a trip to the academy for a couple of firefighters, LEPC members began discussing utilizing money available for training in other capacities as well.

“We’ve been talking about the almost $30,000 we have in one fund and what we were going to do with it,” Krites said. “There were questions about why we were sitting on so much. There were those who felt we needed to be spending it toward the greater good of helping people in Auglaize County.”

Krites said he felt the scholarship was a good way to do that. Now, the goal will be getting the word out to make sure the scholarship gets utilized each year.

“The last thing we want is the scholarship to just sit there,” Krites said.

For now, $1,000 is to be put aside specifically for these professional development scholarships for a wide variety of safety personnel, including EMS, fire and law enforcement, in Auglaize County.

Still in the development phases, individual committees of the LEPC have been charged with developing applications for the scholarship and determining specifications, such as the number of scholarships that may be awarded, the maximum amount per scholarship, and to what they can apply.

At this time, it has been recommended that scholarships generally are to be awarded in amounts up to $250, with the possibility for the nominations committee to recommend alternate amounts based on circumstances. A maximum of two scholarships (one per calendar year) could be awarded to any given applicant. Financial need would be verified before a scholarship is to be awarded.

According to a tentative application, the scholarship would be paid directly to schools, colleges, universities, and seminars to cover the cost of tuition or registration fees. The scholarship would help offset costs to individual agencies for the training their personnel need.

To qualify, the applicant must be a member in good standing of a county public safety agency for at least six months prior to enrollment in higher education, and must agree to complete all course requirements and maintain passing grades.

Part of the scholarship application asks those applying what type of education they are pursuing and why and how it fits into their professional goals, as well as how much the individual’s agency plans to invest.

The LEPC is expected to vote to approve recipients during their regular bi-monthly meetings.

Krites said they are hoping to make some decisions regarding specifics of the scholarship during a meeting next week with the scholarship expected to be ready in 2013.