It’s a landmark and emotional day for Minnesota’s fire service and for us at Bellmont Partners: Our state legislature passed the Hometown Heroes Assistance Program, which ensures that every Minnesota firefighter will have access to education, prevention and care needed to handle a cardiac, emotional trauma or cancer diagnosis. We are grateful to be a part of the team that helped make this hard-fought win happen, led by our client the Minnesota Firefighter Initiative (MnFIRE).
Governor Walz signed the bill into law yesterday, in the shadow of the Minnesota Fallen Firefighter Memorial – where our partnership with the state’s fire service began 10 years ago. In 2011, we started working with the Minnesota Fire Service Foundation on a pro bono basis to build awareness and raise $700,000 to move the state’s firefighter memorial from its original home – hidden near the baggage claim at MSP International Airport – to where it stands today, on the State Capitol grounds.
In 2016, we helped launch MnFIRE, the statewide advocacy organization that equips firefighters and the people who care about them with resources to address the growing health crisis in the Minnesota fire service. From messaging to media relations, design to events, we’ve been honored to work with MnFIRE every step of the way.
Over the years, we’ve grieved with firefighters and their families at funerals, celebrated milestones as we’ve taken steps to get closer to fulfilling MnFIRE’s mission, and worked to help arm our state’s 20,000 firefighters with the tools and training they need to prioritize and protect their health. Nearly every Bellmont Partners team member has played a role, and we could not be more proud that our collective work has changed – and saved – lives.
While a few final details are still being worked out, the Hometown Heroes Assistance Program will:
- Provide a statewide “Critical Care” policy for all Minnesota firefighters which covers diagnoses of cancer or cardiac issues. Coverage amount is $20,000 per diagnosis.
- Create a MnFIRE Assistance Program (MnAP) for all Minnesota firefighters targeting emotional trauma issues unique to the fire service, and ensure additional support for firefighters who remain in need beyond initial treatment sessions.
- Support ongoing annual MnFIRE Awareness training for every Minnesota firefighter. Changing the current culture in the Minnesota Fire Service is integral to long-term reduction of the incidences of cardiac issues, emotional trauma and cancer.
- Sustain annual MnFIRE Awareness Training for medical doctors and mental health professionals statewide so all firefighters in Minnesota have regional access to informed and trained medical professionals to help with prevention, mitigation, diagnosis and treatment of cardiac issues, emotional trauma and cancer.
Congratulations to everyone who contributed their time, expertise, passion and resources toward making this important initiative a reality. We feel privileged to be a part of the team.