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West Webster Firefighters’ Gift Supports Future First Responders, Honors Fallen Heroes (08/13/2013)

Scholarships awarded to MCC students in fall 2013

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Aug. 12, 2013 – The West Webster Volunteer Firemen’s Association has contributed $15,000 toward a scholarship fund to honor fallen West Webster Fire Department volunteers Lt. Michael “Chip” Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka.

The Lt. Michael J. Chiapperini and Tomasz M. Kaczowka Memorial Scholarship fund was established earlier this year by Christine and Jim Wheeler, formerly of Webster, with the Monroe Community College Foundation. Chiapperini was an MCC alumnus (class of 1989) and Kaczowka was an MCC student when they responded to a house fire and lost their lives on Dec. 24, 2012. The scholarship supports students enrolled in MCC’s Fire Protection Technology program and the next generation of firefighters.

“The West Webster Volunteer Firemen’s Association is honored to contribute to the scholarship fund in Chip’s and Tomasz’s name. The volunteer fire service was a big part of their lives,” said Ken Smith, president of the volunteer firemen’s association. “We hope our donation will help the scholarships become perpetual so that they can be awarded forever. Assisting young men and women to earn a degree in Fire Protection Technology, and to eventually have a career in firefighting, is something I know Chip and Tomasz would be proud of.”

“The Foundation is grateful to the West Webster firefighters for adding their financial support to endow this scholarship,” said Diane Shoger, executive director of the MCC Foundation. “Their gift will allow scholarships to be awarded in perpetuity, touching the lives of MCC students who want to pursue a profession that would allow them to help the community the same way Lt. Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka did. Through this scholarship, the Foundation is pleased to be able to help students fulfill their educational dreams while honoring these heroes for their dedication and sacrifice.”

“Our College commitment to the scholarship fund is very personal, as Chip and Tomasz were members of the MCC family,” said MCC President Anne Kress. “This scholarship fund honors their memory by supporting MCC students who aspire to enter the fire service and protect our communities. With the firefighters’ generous support, more students will have the opportunity to attain their degrees.”

Two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded annually to full- or part-time students majoring in fire protection technology at MCC. The first scholarships will be awarded in the fall 2013 semester.

Residents of Webster are especially encouraged to apply. People interested in contributing to the scholarship fund can contact the MCC Foundation at (585) 262-1500 or give online at

Photo caption: Ken Smith, second from right, president of the West Webster Volunteer Firemen’s Association, presents Monroe Community College President Anne Kress with a check for $15,000 to support a scholarship fund honoring fallen West Webster Fire Department volunteers Lt. Michael “Chip” Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka. The fund will benefit MCC students pursuing firefighting careers. From left are Jason France, MCC fire/rescue program coordinator; Michael Karnes, dean of MCC’s Public Safety Training Center; and Marc Connolly, manager of MCC emergency services programs.

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