July 22, 2016, Rehoboth Beach, DE: Governor Jack Markell signed HB406 at the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Station 1, on Rehoboth Ave. Accompanying the Governor, at the signing, was Representative Pete Schwartzkopf. Speaker Schwartzkopf was the prime sponsor for the legislation. Also attending were other prime sponsors, Representative Daniel Short of Seaford and Senator Bruce Ennis of Smyrna. Also in attendance were Representative, Ruth Briggs King of Georgetown and Representative, Steve Smyk of Milton.
HB406 was designed to help people join volunteer fire companies by eliminating the cost of a background check done at the State Bureau of Identification. The State of Delaware is protected almost entirely by the volunteer fire companies. Today, due to attrition, more active lifestyles and other factors the number of volunteer firefighters has been declining.
According to Joe Zeroles, President of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association, “This bill, we hope, will entice more people to join volunteer fire companies. We certainly need them.” He went on, “a volunteer firefighter serves one’s community and they make a difference in peoples’ lives, there is no greater calling. When you become a volunteer firefighter you become a part of a bother/sister hood that is unmatched by most professional organizations. We are looking forward to welcoming many new men and women into the Delaware Volunteer Fire Service because of this legislation.”
– Submitted by Warren Jones, photos by Chuck Snyder