Trumbull State Reps. Tony Hwang (R-134), Larry Miller (R-122), and Dave Rutigliano (R-123) voted last week to establish a privately funded pool of funds to benefit the Newtown Police, teachers, and emergency workers who have been affected by psychological trauma since the December shooting.

The Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Fund will cover mental health issues through private donations. The bill had a special provision in it covering the family of Mary Sherlach, a Trumbull resident who was killed at Sandy Hook.  Scherlach was just a few months short from being eligible to retire, and the bill assures that her family, as well as other families of the educators who died that day, will receive the support they deserve.

“This bill shows the generosity and empathy that the residents of Connecticut and throughout the world have for those affected at Sandy Hook,” said Rep. Hwang.  “It is appropriate for the CT General Assembly to support our courageous educators and first responders who have been through such a traumatic event by providing the necessary financial resources and counseling to help them heal from this tragedy.  This is a unique legislation specifically designed for Newtown.”

“There is little in our power to do or say to provide relief for the families of Sandy Hook who lost loved ones, or for the first responders who came upon a scene no one should ever have to answer the call for,” said Rep. Miller.  “However this bill allows us to do some important things for them, however small. Decency dictates that we must offer this support to those who have been directly traumatized by this event, and that we take steps to help the families receive the full benefits they should be entitled to.”

“It is a testament to the generosity and humanity of so many people throughout our local community and across the state helping in whichever way they can,” said Rep. Rutigliano. “It is right and just that the bill includes a special provision for the family of Mary Sherlach. My hope is that we have, in some small way, paved the way for families to receive the help the need and the peace that they deserve.”

The United Way of Western Connecticut is handling the processing of the donations. The fund will be administered by the state's Office of Victims Services, with the State Treasurer managing its assets.