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Terry Farrell Fund to get money for first-responder services

Emergency volunteers who responded to superstorm Sandy are now getting an assist.

Wantagh-based nonprofit The Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund will receive $767,000 in federal superstorm Sandy social services block grant funding, said Kevin Mulrooney, vice president of JSK Inc., a Williston Park-based company specializing in writing grants.

The money will go toward creating a program to provide post-traumatic stress disorder counseling, legal services and family counseling. It will also provide referral services for Nassau and Suffolk county volunteer fire and EMS workers impacted by the storm. Peer counselors will be trained, and members in need of services will be properly referred.

"We made the case to the federal government that this is a resiliency issue," Mulrooney said. "These guys left their families and when they returned their homes were destroyed, their cars and possessions were gone. We [had] better deal with these issues because there is going to be another hurricane and we have to prepare these responders and provide them with mental health services."

He said he expects the money will be distributed by the state early next year.

Terry Farrell was an FDNY firefighter and chief of the Dix Hills Fire Department who died Sept. 11, 2001. The purpose of the all-volunteer organization is to support the first responders, and it now has 13 chapters nationwide, including ones in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida and New Mexico.

"Any first responder affected by the storm, we're going to help them," Brian Farrell, Terry's brother and chairman of the fund, said. "It's wild -- three-quarters of a million dollars? It's wonderful that someone stepped up and realized these folks need help."

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