UPDATE: First responders to receive support from National Compas - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: First responders to receive support from National Compassion Fund

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE:  A resolution to allow first responders to receive support through the National Compassion Fund passed in the Chattanooga City Council Tuesday night.

        Chattanooga city leaders met Tuesday night to discuss a city ethics policy that would have kept them from accepting their share of the money raised after the Chattanooga terror attack. 
    Some city leaders say that's the way it should be, others say, they deserve the support. 
    The vote was 8-1 in favor of allowing 28 first responders who applied for aid due to psychological trauma to receive $1,000 each from the National Compassion Fund. 


PREVIOUS:  A city ethics policy may keep two dozen first responders from accepting money raised for them after the terror attacks. It's a rule that prohibits city employees from taking gifts for their service. But some say an exception should be made for the heroes of July 16th.

The city attorney plans to ask the city council on Tuesday to allow the 28 first responders to each receive a check from The National Compassion Fund. The council members Channel 3 spoke to Friday don't see eye to eye.

When the city attorney presents a resolution to allow 28 city employees to receive a donation,
 the city council's vote won't be unanimous.

“Accepting compensation for what they do, when they strap on the equipment every morning and leave their home and families it's what they do,” said District 4 Councilman Larry Grohn.

“A lot of our first responders were injured on July 16th psychologically or physically. It is a well-deserved employee benefit,” said District 7 Councilman Chris Anderson.
 

The National Compassion Fund awarded $1,000 to each of the 28 first responders who applied, saying they suffered psychological trauma on July 16th. Council member Larry Grohn said they were doing their job. “I think the whole idea of the fund was to set up to address the families and the victims.”

But council member Chris Anderson said the first responders are the victims. “It was one of the most horrific incidents in Chattanooga's history. They are suffering from the trauma of that day. They did their job, they’re not complaining, but the benefit exists and they should be able to apply,” said Anderson.

The city's code of ethics says officers should not accept gifts for their work. Grohn believes allowing it in this situation will set a precedent for future appeals. “This sets a serious precedent by making an exception. What happens the next time, or the next time. God forbids something like this should happen.”

But Anderson will push to pass the resolution that will need a majority vote. “I hope we always take care of our employees and support our heroes we have on our police department.”

No word on where the money will go if the officers are not awarded the $28,000.


More than 60 people directly affected by the July 16 shooting in Chattanooga are getting a portion of donated funds from the National Compassion Fund.

The National Compassion Fund received $467,335 in contributions from more than 556 donors, according to a release Wednesday afternoon.

A good chunk of that money came from the benefit concert held in September by Friends of the Festival where they collected $327,045 in donations for the National Compassion Fund.

The release says they received applications from 62 victims and waivers from two eligible claimants. Each of the victims was verified by the FBI, the U.S. Military, or the City of Chattanooga as having been killed, injured, or present at the scene of the July 16, 2015 shooting.

The applications were reviewed by National Center staff and divided into four categories: Loss of Life, Physical Injury, Level-two Psychological Trauma (for persons who were present on the scene as the attack began), and Level-one Psychological Trauma (for persons responding to the scene).

An expert panel approved the following distribution plan:

  • Loss of Life Claims - $331,490.00 (71% of the total funds collected) will be paid to the estates of the five victims who were killed.
  • Physical Injury Claims - $61,877.13 (13% of the total funds collected) will pay benefits to three victims who were physically injured.
  • Level-two Psychological Trauma - $45,968.00 (10% of the total amount collected) will pay equal benefits to twenty six claimants who suffered psychological trauma and were present as the attack began.
  • Level-one Psychological Trauma - $28,000.00 (6% of the total amount collected) will pay equal benefits to twenty eight claimants who responded to the scene.

The panel felt that the families of those who were killed suffered the greatest loss as a result of the attack and those victims’ estates will receive the majority of benefits.

Supporters contributed $140,289.48 directly to the National Compassion Fund through its website, the donation by text message platform, or by mailing a check directly to the bank lock box.

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