Newsletter-Summer 2012

Penflex Meets Schumer's Staff to Discuss VESSRA



The VESSRA Act was recently introduced in the Senate and is called S. 1911. The Act in the House, last year known as HR 1792, was renamed HR 376 after Congressman Peter King reintroduced the bill this spring.

On Thurday, March 26th,  Penflex President Ed Holohan, along with representatives from the NVFC, FASNY and The New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, met Senator Charles Schumers Staff in order further stress the importance of this legislation that will benefit volunteer firefighters who are now, or will be in the future, enrolled in a LOSAP program.

 "Whether this bill passes or not depends on members of Congress hearing from their constituents.  That's why the NVFC is encouraging people to use our Capwiz legislative service to contact their U.S. Representative and Senators to ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 376/S. 1911,” says Dave Finger, Director of Government Legislation for the NVFC. The capwiz legislative service can be found here .

Every volunteer emergency service provider in New York State should contact their representatives in Congress to talk about trying to find a way to get the bill attached to legislation that will pass this year. According to Dave Finger no one is opposing this bill (H.R. 376/S.1911) The best way to ensure that VESSRA is successfully used as an amendment (attached to another likely-to-pass bill) is to have as many co-sponsors as possible. So, contact your representatives, write letters to the editors of your local paper or raise the issue on your favorite social media platform. Help Penflex and the NVFC spread the word about this crucial legislation affecting volunteers today! “The impact of H.R. 376 on the future of the volunteer fire and EMS forces cannot be overstated. This legislation is a crucial first step in the effort to stop the slide in the enrollment and retention numbers of the volunteer forces,” says Ed Holohan, President of Penflex. We thank all of you in advance for your continued support of VESSRA and for taking the time to have your voices heard.

FASNY Unveils HELP College Tuition Reimbursement Plan



FASNY has unveiled a first-of-its-kind tuition reimbursement program for volunteer firefighters throughout NYS called the HELP program. Fueled by a SAFER grant the HELP program represents the first step in a FASNY effort to boost firefighter recruitment and retention throughout the state, with the ultimate goal being to add 15,189 new volunteers within four years.

Many volunteer departments in New York State are facing a need to recruit and retain new members and infuse their departments with youth and FASNY believes tuition reimbursement will help attract new recruits to the volunteer service.

The latest available statewide studies show that if all fire protective services now provided by volunteers were funded by taxpayers, it would add approximately $2.8 billion in pay and benefits, firefighter equipment, and general operations costs per year. FASNY is, and has been, working hard to make sure that NY continues take steps to reverse the trend of shrinking volunteer forces. Everyone at Penflex would like to thank FASNY for this cutting-edge initiative and wish them every success. For details on how to apply for HELP email

Underfunded LOSAPs a Growing Problem?



A properly funded LOSAP program is an integral piece of a recruitment and retention program. A LOSAP that is not properly funded, however, can erode the public’s trust in a volunteer organization, pose serious problems for elected officials and cause cash shortages that must be made up by taxpayers.

 Over the years Penflex has unearthed, and taken over, dozens of LOSAP programs that were not being funded correctly. These programs are ticking time bombs and quite often catch the sponsoring officials’ off-guard. In this economy it’s vital that a volunteer department monitor the status of its plan or have a qualified team of actuaries offer an assessment of their plans health.

The good news is that if a department discovers it’s LOSAP is not properly funded, there is no need to panic. These plans can be put back on track and eventually attain the properly funded status they should have had all along. Together with qualified investment professionals Penflex has helped repair a number of underfunded plans and is one of the few firms with the expertise and experience required to salvage an ailing LOSAP.

Volunteers are difficult to come by these days and just as recruitment is important and challenging, so too is retention. A key piece of that puzzle is a departments LOSAP plan. An underfunded LOSAP does not need to be scrapped.

For these reasons Penflex is extending our offer of a comprehensive LOSAP evaluation to all volunteer departments. The Penflex team, led by actuary and noted LOSAP expert Ed Holohan, has decades of experience administering these plans and can offer an objective and thorough review of any LOSAP plan.

New to the Penflex Family



  • Loudon County, VA
  • Village of Greenport
  • North Merrick Fire District
  • Ellicottville Fire District
  • Village of Blasdell
  • Hamptonburg Fire District
  • Pawling Fire District
  • Watkins Glenn Fire Company
  • Chili Volunteer Ambulance
  • Greenwood Lake Ambulance
  • Putnam Valley Ambulance
  • Port Jervis Ambulance
  • Brussels-Union Emergency Medical
  • Green County EMS
  • West Manchester Township
  • Luzerne-Hadley Consolidated Fire District
  • Averill Park Sand Lake Fire Disctrict #2
  • St. Paul Boulevard Fire Disctrict