(03/04/2008)
Volunteer firemen are West Virginia's first line of help.

Now, the state's volunteer firefighters say the Legislature promised them money decades ago to help them recruit and retain members, but it has never happened.

Many department's are struggling to find volunteers to provide the vital services to WV's rural communities.

The VFD's are asking lawmakers to fulfill that promise.

The volunteers want a bill that would aid them, like the pension funds of their paid counterparts.

That bill would impose a 1 percent surcharge on most insurance policies sold in the state.

Revenue from the surcharge would be devoted toward a fund for paid municipal police and fire pensions.

During a public hearing yesterday in the House, volunteer firefighters said their groups should get a share of the money directed toward paid firemen.

Fire and police pension plans statewide are facing major funding gaps totaling $660 million dollars.


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