New scholarship fund supports Fire/EMS students

Monday, June 25, 2018

Fire/EMS students will benefit from a new scholarship fund, announced June 25, 2018, by Dr. Monica Posey along with (front row, to her right) Chief Stephen Ashbrock (Madeira/Indian Hill Joint Fire District), Harold Thomas (the scholarship donor), and Cincinnati State Foundation Chair Mike Haunert.

The new scholarship fund is intended to help students earn associate's degrees in Fire Service Technology or Emergency Medical Services.

The Stephen M. Ashbrock Fire and EMS Endowed Scholarship Fund was established thanks to a gift of more than $300,000 from Harold Thomas.

“Hopefully the scholarships will help bring in more young people who want to earn degrees and work as firefighters and EMT’s,” Mr. Thomas said. “We need them.”

Mr. Thomas said he learned about the region’s shortage of firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics after he donated funds to build new fire stations in Madeira and Indian Hill.

In the process of making those donations, Thomas became friends with Stephen Ashbrock, chief of the Madeira & Indian Hill Joint Fire District.

Chief Ashbrock said it was “over his objections” that Thomas named the new scholarship fund after him.

“I am humbled and honored by Harold’s gesture,” Ashbrock said. “He is an incredibly generous and engaged donor who targets his gifts where he thinks they will do the most good. Right now many fire districts, especially suburban districts, can’t find the people they need.”

Proceeds from the new fund will support scholarships of up to $5,000 for 3 to 5 new or continuing students each year.

President Monica Posey said, “We are so thankful to Mr. Thomas. His gift will make it possible for many dedicated students to complete their education so they can serve our community.”

On average, fire companies across Hamilton County are 30 people short each day of the personnel needed to be fully staffed, according to preliminary results of a staffing study being conducted by the Hamilton County Fire Chiefs Association.

Chief Ashbrock said many local suburban fire districts have a short-term need for 6 to 8 new hires, and will need more new hires long-term as additional personnel retire.

The Cincinnati Fire Department has also publicly stated that a fourth of its 850 firefighters are expected to retire between 2016-2024 and will need to be replaced.

“I hope these scholarships will enable students to become the fire and EMS officers and leaders of the future,” Chief Ashbrock said.

For more information about Cincinnati State’s Fire/Emergency Services programs or the new scholarship fund, contact Fire/EMS Program Chair Thomas (Ryan) Mayfield (569-1294 or

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