LOUISVILLE, Ky. — UPDATE: Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed HB 273 into law on March 25, 2019.
Kentucky firefighters are praising a House bill just passed by the Senate's Appropriations & Revenue committee Tuesday, that would create a peer support group for firefighters. If passed, it would establish the Alan "Chip" Terry Professional Development and Wellness Program and create a fund for the program's administration.
It's a small but important step in the fight for more protections of our first responders, especially those dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
House Bill 273 passed the House in a unanimous vote of support and passed the Senate as well. Governor Bevin signed the bill into law on March 25.
It's named after former Covington Firefighter Chip Terry, whose story we featured in December. He ended his life a few years ago after suffering from years of job-related PTSD.
Terry's widow, Jo Terry, now works with the department to make sure everyone on staff is getting the help they need when it comes to mental health.
"I am overwhelmed by the speed and bipartisan support this bill has received. Our first responders deserve all the help we can offer from the state level down to the local communities. I would like to publicly thank Rep. Buddy Wheatley, who was a good friend of my husbands and a retired fire chief, as well as the other bill sponsors for working so hard to see this bill pass," Jo Terry said Tuesday evening.