GAWDA Made It Happen
At the 2011 GAWDA Convention in New York City, GAWDA Gives Back gave $101,375 to the FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation to fulfill its mission of transporting firefighters, family members and department personnel to and from medical institutions for care and family support. The non-profit, volunteer organization also comforts and supports the families of fallen firefighters in their bereavement.
The Foundation has 20 vehicles, including three vans. The newest van is the GAWDA Gives Back van, a 2013 Dodge Sprinter recently put into service. The vehicle is handicap-accessible and can carry two wheelchairs and five people. According to founder Pat Concannon, a retired NYC firefighter, it took five months to retrofit and deliver the vehicle, but it was well worth it.
Danny Prince, the organization's treasurer, was driving the van while this interview was being conducted. On his way to pick up a firefighter in need of medical care, Prince says the van is used several times a week. Many of the transports involve helping firefighters who got sick after working at the 9/11 World Trade Center site. The total cost of the van, including accessibility retrofits, was $70,000. The remainder of the GAWDA Gives Back donation is being used to maintain and insure the vehicles. Prince and Concannon are both quick to thank GAWDA members for their generosity. "God bless GAWDA, and thank you very much," Prince says. Concannon adds, "Every time a family gets into this van, they see the name GAWDA. GAWDA made it happen. We are very grateful."
In 2013, GAWDA Gives Back will make a donation to two deserving organization's in the Orlando area. Read more about Camp Boggy Creek and Give Kids the World. And if you'd like to know how past donations to GAWDA Gives Back were used, you can read how GAWDA Gave Back.
Senate Committee Passes Helium Legislation
A bill to reauthorize the sale of helium from the Federal Helium Reserve, S. 783, was voted out of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on June 18. The bill was a bipartisan amendment to the original Senate legislation and passed through the committee on a voice vote. The amended version of S. 783 continues the bill's original approach of a gradual transition to an auction process for the sale of helium from the reserve. The current allocation system would remain in effect until October 1, 2014, but the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) could extend that deadline if the auction program is not ready by that date.In addition, the new version of S. 783 directs the BLM to complete the sale of all Federal Helium Reserve assets by January 1, 2023.
The bill must now be considered by the full Senate. No date for debate and a floor vote have been scheduled at this time. Once the Senate passes the bill, a House-Senate Conference Committee will meet to negotiate the differences in the two bills (the House has already passed its version of the legislation). The agreed conference bill will then be resubmitted for a vote in the House and Senate and, if passed by each house, will be sent to the President for his signature.
Administration Extends Employer Health Care Mandate
The Obama Administration hasextended the deadline to January 1, 2015 for employers to providequalifying health insurance coverage to their employees or face fines.The prior deadline was January 1, 2014. The employer mandate applies to all companies with 50 or more full time employees (defined as working more than 30 hours per week on average).