On Friday, June 15th, Public Safety Officials of Prince William County in conjunction with Congressman Gerry Connolly and Supervisor John Jenkins held a press conference announcing the Department of Justice’s overturned decision in the denial of Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) death benefit claim for Cecilia Turnbough’s death that occurred in November, 2008. Cecilia was an 8 year veteran emergency medical technician who suffered a heart attack during a strenuous training exercise while training to become a volunteer firefighter. The DOJ claimed she was not a certified firefighter at the time of her death; she was determined ineligible and therefore denied benefits.
The press conference, held at Station 10, announced the overturned decision. Chris Hool, Fire Chief of the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department was instrumental in initiating the process on behalf of the department and the Turnbough family. Chief Kevin McGee of the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue and Congressman Gerry Connolly joined the fight in getting the decision overturned. Chief McGee remarked, “Recruits need to know that their families will receive benefits after an accident or death. I don’t want our recruits to have any questions in the back of their minds.”
The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits program provides death and education benefits to survivors of fallen law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders. The decision affects all public safety officers; volunteer, career, on the job or in training.