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 meeting scheduled to take place today at 5:00 p.m. in the Gold Room of the Allegheny County Courthouse. The 11 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 350 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:


  • ·        Jacqlyn Beetem - Perrysville VFC
  • ·        Brandon Chapman - Stowe Township VFD
  • ·        Brian Fink - Shaler Villa VFC
  • ·        Christian Halas - Perrysville VFC
  • ·        Dominique Kaplan - West Deer VFC #3
  • ·        Tyler Machajewski - Millvale VFD
  • ·        Ryan McGuire - Bauerstown VFD
  • ·        Joseph Trocki - West Deer VFC #1
  • ·        Amber Zellhart - West Deer VFC #3
  • ·        Megan Zellhart - West Deer VFC #3
  • ·        Thomas Zimmerman - Bauerstown VFD



The graduates majored in programs such as Criminal Justice & Criminology, Fire Science Administration, General Studies, Accounting, Respiratory Therapy, Nursing and Automotive Technology. Scholarship recipients can choose any CCAC degree program.

Among notable CCAC FireVEST graduates is Glenn Kopec Jr., a resident of Plum Borough and member of the Unity VFD, who was recently honored with a Firehouse Magazine Michael O. McNamee Award of Valor. The award, which recognizes acts of courage and bravery, including physical acts to rescue a victim in hazardous conditions, was bestowed in recognition of Kopec's rescue of two children who were trapped in a house fire in Plum in February 2016. Kopec, who is employed at a local hospital, was able to earn, at no cost to himself, an associate of science in Nursing from CCAC Boyce Campus while receiving the highest level of training at the Allegheny County Fire Academy through the FireVEST program.

FireVEST 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 2018 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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