CCAC FireVEST scholarship program graduates to be honored by Allegheny County Council

Article by: CCAC Public Relations
PITTSBURGH—Allegheny County Council will honor recent graduates of the Community College of Allegheny County FireVEST scholarship program during the council’s upcoming meeting scheduled to take place at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, in the Gold Room of the Allegheny County Courthouse. The 15 CCAC program graduates will be recognized for their academic achievements and their commitment to serve as volunteer firefighters in their respective communities for the next five years.

A partnership between CCAC, the Allegheny County Executive and the Allegheny County Fire Academy, the FireVEST scholarship program provides scholarships to residents of Allegheny County who are either current volunteers or who join a volunteer fire department in Allegheny County. Individuals can join the program and receive a full scholarship to CCAC in exchange for a five-year service commitment as a volunteer firefighter within Allegheny County. Since January 2009, more than 330 Allegheny County volunteer firefighters have participated in this recruitment and retention program whose purpose is to help keep Allegheny County’s volunteer fire companies staffed, well-trained and ready to respond. CCAC graduates to be honored by Allegheny County Council are:

  • Joseph Andrews – North Braddock VFD 
  • Nathan Butala – West Deer VFC #3 
  • Melissa Cerda – Munhall VFC #4
  • Eric Darr – Monroeville VFC #5 
  • John Ebbert – Quaill VFD 
  • Eric Gartley – Crafton VFD 
  • Cynthia Gironda – Rainbow VFD
  • Holly Kendall – Greentree VFD 
  • Jenna Klousnitzer – Skyview VFC 
  • Gary Miller – Highland Hose Co #1 
  • Jettie Eva Parker – Bethel Park VFD
  • Marissa Perelstine – East Carnegie VFD
  • Kenneth Sebastian – Unity VFD 
  • Tyler Sergent – Richland Township VFD 
  • Jason Sonafelt – Monroeville VFC #1 

The graduates majored in programs such as Business Management, Criminal Justice & Criminology, Fire Science Administration, General Studies, HVAC, Paramedic and Welding Technology. Scholarship recipients can choose any CCAC degree program.

Applicants must apply and be accepted to CCAC; file for federal and state financial aid; and complete the financial aid process on time and in its entirety. Applications for the FireVEST program are available on CCAC’s website at, search keyword “FireVEST,” or by contacting the Allegheny County Fire Academy at 412.931.3158, ext. 5. Applications for the 2017 spring term must be submitted or postmarked by November 15.

If awarded a scholarship, the recipient must meet the following obligations:

  • Serve as a volunteer firefighter for five years in Allegheny County; 
  • Maintain an acceptable level of service as monitored by his or her fire department; 
  • Complete required courses at the Allegheny County Fire Academy and a course in first aid and CPR; 
  • Obtain Firefighter I Certification through the Allegheny County Fire Academy; 
  • Maintain a minimum scholarship program cumulative grade point average of 2.00 for the duration of his or her studies; and 
  • Repay a portion of the scholarship if service or academic requirements are not met.

The FireVEST Advisory Board will review all applications and other forms to assess scholarship eligibility and to determine scholarship recipients. Being accepted into membership of the sponsoring agency (volunteer fire company) and/or being accepted for enrollment at CCAC does not guarantee the student will be awarded a scholarship under the FireVEST program, nor does it guarantee acceptance into limited-enrollment CCAC programs. Instead, the recruitment needs of the sponsoring agencies are the first priority when selecting scholarship recipients.

For additional information on the FireVEST program, contact the Allegheny County Fire Academy at 412.931.3158, ext. 5 or

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