Honoring Pennsylvania’s Fallen First Responders | By State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh)

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Every day in Pennsylvania, first responders risk their own safety to ensure our communities are protected. Thanks to legislation I authored that was recently signed into law by Gov. Josh Shapiro, the Commonwealth now has a program to recognize those first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice while performing their duties.

Act 11 of 2024 creates the Keystone First Responder Award to honor public servants who were either killed or suffered a career-ending injury in the line of duty from 2021 forward. The time frame for the new law conforms with the state’s line-of-duty death benefit sign-on period, which requires the benefit application be made within three years of the person’s death.

Those eligible for the award include law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, coroners, 911 dispatchers, and other first responders. The award consists of a plaque and a medal.

Under the new law, a committee made up of representatives from state fire, police, and emergency management organizations will be formed to administer and develop the criteria for the award. The committee will then work to provide a list of potential recipients to the governor who will approve the honorees and present the award annually at the end of September.

By honoring fallen first responders with this award, we will remember their bravery and dedication, ensure their supreme sacrifice is not forgotten for generations to come, and support their families and colleagues. It also reinforces the value of community they exemplified in their lives.

I was proud to be the act’s prime sponsor and help shepherd this bill through the legislative process and see it signed into law in Pennsylvania.


Information provided to TVL by:
Andy Briggs
Representative Ryan Mackenzie
187th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives