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Bill To Set Aside A Day To Honor Massachusetts First Responders Moves Closer To Becoming Law

Apr 05, 2016 07:13PM ● By Bill Gilman

Jerry Selissen

(Editor's note: The following information was submitted by the office of State Rep. Jim Miceli, D-Wilmington.)

Boston, MA – A bill honoring the fallen, currently serving, and retired first responders proposed by Tewksbury resident Jerry Selissen and drafted by State Rep. Jim Miceli, D-Wilmington, has now taken its next step to becoming law.

The legislation, submitted during the current session in the House of Representatives, had cleared its final committee and has now been passed to the Massachusetts State Senate for approval, before heading to the Governor.

The bill would seek to declare a date of remembrance of fallen police, firefighters, and first responders by gubernatorial decree, and for towns, state facilities, and citizens alike to take pause in remembering those who died safeguarding their communities. 

“Jerry approached me at the beginning of this legislative session, curious to why there was no day of remembrance for our police, firefighters, EMTs, and the like. We rightfully honor the veterans and service-members, and we rightfully honor our Presidents and other public servants, but we had forgotten about the men and women who put on fire, police, and EMT uniforms to serve us every day in our communities,” said Miceli. “To us this wasn’t right, especially after the tragedy of the Marathon bombing, so after Jerry and I discussed the oversight we felt it was the right time to correct that situation. I hope this day does justice to remember all those who have fallen in the line of duty, such as Wilmington’s own son Sean Collier, who chose to take a tremendous risk each day so that we may live in a peaceful, stable community without fear.”

The bill, drafted initially as House Bill 2791, has since been redrafted to H4161 and declares the Sunday preceding the third Monday in April as First Responder’s Day.

 H2791 received popular support among the House of Representatives when offered by Representative Miceli, and enjoyed bi-partisan backing including that of Representative James Arciero, Representative Marcos A. Devers, Representative Diana DiZoglio, Representative Rady Mom, Representative Donald Wong, and Senator Barbara L’Italien. 

“My thought process was simply to honor what the first responders do for the communities they work in, both in and out of uniform, which I saw through my father-in-law during his time at the Boston Fire Department and my time as a former (Tewksbury) Selectman," said Selissen. " I saw what happened on 9/11, during the marathon bombing, at the San Bernadino shooting, and I think its  time for us to pay respect to those who run towards the chaos and sometimes don’t make it home; it’s a long over due holiday to pay our respects to them and I hope to see it pass soon.” 

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