Caring for those who serve

Published 7:36 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Several years ago in Mecklenburg County, a sheriff’s deputy, who had just handled a situation that occurred while he was on duty, was told to go home because it was past his shift. As he proceeded to leave the scene during a storm, a tree limb broke. The tree crushed the roof of his cruiser and, in doing so, crushed the deputy.

The insurance company determined that, because he was off duty and returning home, he was not covered by the county’s workman’s compensation insurance policy. This is just one example of the type of issue that can arise while serving the public in dangerous situations; whether it be bad weather, home fires, accidents on the roads and other such situations.

These type issues have been most challenging because they potentially can affect members of each of our own communities or families because we have so many who give of their time. These issues are often referred to as “line of duty.”

They deal with those of our citizens who serve you and your neighbors as law enforcement personnel, firefighters or rescue squad members, either paid or volunteer. It comes into play when someone is killed or, more frequently, is permanently disabled as they work to save you.

This year, after several years of trying, the Virginia General Assembly was able to get all interested parties to agree on legislation that finally establishes a policy that protects those who serve us, while including checks and balances to prevent misuse of the system. For those injured while in the line of duty, they will be placed in the state’s health insurance plan.

Frank Ruff, a Republican, represents Lunenburg County in the Virginia Senate. His email address is