Governor Nathan Deal came to Ellijay in May of 2017 to sign HB 146 into law at Gilmer County Fire Station #1. This bill provides Georgia firefighters with insurance coverage in the event they are diagnosed with certain types of cancer commonly associated with exposure to toxic fumes, asbestos, and other carcinogens.
This legislation was inspired by Gilmer County’s own Brian Scudder — a firefighter who was diagnosed with a cancer associated with the hazardous conditions firefighters often encounter in the line of duty. Brian had to continue working while undergoing cancer treatment because he had no such insurance protection provided for him.
While Brian will never benefit from this law, it was important we did what was right and fair for his brothers and sisters who wear the uniform — heroes like firefighter Frank Martinez of Forsyth County who we lost to a similar cancer just last year.
I want to thank everyone who joined us in this cause. I want to particularly thank Governor Deal for his leadership as well as State Rep. Micah Gravley for sponsoring this legislation and carrying it through the process.
It was a special day to be at the Gilmer County Fire Department. An idea born in that station house became a reality yesterday. It was made even better by being with Brian Scudder, many members of Frank Martinez’s family as well as firefighters from all over the state.
This law will support our firefighters and their families in an hour of great need. It is the least we can do for the sacrifices they make each and every day.