September 11, 2001, is a day that will live in our memories forever.
That day, 343 firefighters and paramedics were killed. Twenty-three NYPD officers, and 37 Port Authority officers also were killed. Many more firefighters and emergency personnel have died in the weeks, months and years following the infamous attack on the World Trade Center, a lingering after-effect of that toxic day and their heroic efforts to save others at the risk – and too often, the loss – of their own lives.
Shortly after 9/11, an attorney in Columbia, S.C., began the Wills for Heroes program. He and other lawyers sought a way to help, and they soon found a glaring need for estate planning services for emergency personnel. Specifically needed: wills.
Since then, the program has provided well over 7,000 free wills for first-responders. All the legal staff volunteer their time, and a number of sponsors provide free services (like the legal software to create the wills, by HotDocs and LexisNexis.
The main branch of Wills for Heroes is in Minneapolis. There is a central Minnesota branch, headed by Bradley W. Hanson, Esq., of Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A. This group has been volunteering for five years, one evening a month for 11 months a year, in a different central Minnesota town.
They come in for four hours, and set up three stations each with a lawyer, a paralegal, and a computer. They meet with couples for about an hour each, providing wills, health directives, and other estate planning documents for about 12 couples each time.
The group came to the Kimball Area Fire and Rescue Hall Monday evening, Feb. 25. The volunteers vary each month, but this group consisted of Hanson, Don Hathaway (a paralegal who is also their technology expert), Sam Voge, Gloria Myre, Claudia Revermann, Roz Brandenburg, Jolene Schley, Helen Federline, and Lori Christofferson.
Thanks to this group of volunteers sharing their talents, about 12 families of local fire and rescue personnel can rest a little easier knowing that there is a plan in place for their loved ones.
Visit for more information about this organization, and for donation opportunities.