Honoring The Brave
A Guest Column by State Senator Scott Oelslager
September 10, 2014
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As we reflect on what happened thirteen years ago, it is important that we recognize the service of volunteer peace officers, firefighters, emergency medical workers and police officers.
In times of crisis, such as September 11, 2001, peace officers, firefighters and other medical personnel risk their lives for others.  Some of these volunteers develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The Supreme Court of Ohio recently ruled that an individual seeking workers’ compensation for a PTSD claim was ineligible to receive benefits if they did not have a compensable physical injury that caused their PTSD. 
Senate Bill 252, sponsored by Senators Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) and Edna Brown (D-Toledo), would clarify that a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical worker who is diagnosed with PTSD would be eligible for workers’ compensation regardless of physical harm.  The PTSD must be a result from the person’s employment.
As a state, we should not only support those injured in the line of duty, but also give our full support to their family members.  Regardless of full-time, part-time or volunteer status, police officers should have a dependents’ fund.  Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township) introduced Senate Bill 288, which would create the Volunteer Police Officers’ Dependents Fund.  This fund would provide death benefits to survivors of volunteer, part-time, and reserve police officers and sheriffs’ deputies killed in the line of duty.  Police officers who are totally or permanently disabled as a result of their work may also receive disability benefits.  This bill will ensure that families who were not previously eligible for such benefits may now be entitled to such.
Both of these bills have been passed out of the Ohio Senate and are pending in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Ohio will continue to lead the way in honoring those who sacrifice their lives.  I personally want to thank each and every individual and their families for the courage they demonstrate on a daily basis.  As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if ever I can be of assistance with any state government-related issue.

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