Volunteers Needed

February 1, 2013 Updated Feb 1, 2013 at 1:08 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

February 1, 2013 Updated Feb 1, 2013 at 1:08 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - There is a need for volunteer firefighters across the state and officials are desperately finding ways to recruit new members.

The first ever, Statewide Community College Tuition Reimbursement program for volunteer firefighters, unveiled in 2011, is even extending its deadline with hopes to recruit more firefighters. Under this program, students who become a volunteer fire fighters will be eligible to have up to 100 percent of their tuition reimbursed in exchange for maintaining good grades and fulfilling service requirements as a member of one of New York's fire companies. There are no restrictions on the type of classes or if the student goes to school part or full-time.

Channel 7 spoke with firefighter Jessie Roland-Bystrak who said she is inspiring others to volunteer their time.

"I feel like I can show young woman out there that they can do it, even young men, at any age can do it. Don't have anything stop you. It's a learning experience beyond belief and fire fighting doesn't only help me with fire fighting. It helps me with school, my actual job and family," Bystrak said.

The deadline for the program is now February 15th and a statewide recruiting effort will take place on April 27th. The Fireman's Association of New York is hoping this will bring in the hundreds of new recruits needed to keep the fire departments going strong and keep communities safe.

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