VCOS Scholarship Programs

Chief Robert T. Bettenhausen Scholarship

Chief Robert T. Bettenhausen was a  co-founder and the first secretary/treasurer of the Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS). He served in that position from 1994 to 2007, after which he was bestowed the title emeritus secretary/treasurer. Chief Robert T. Bettenhausen served as the fire chief and fire marshal of Tinley Park Fire Department. The Chief Robert T. Bettenhausen Scholarship to Symposium in the Sun is in honor of his many contributions to his community and the fire service as a whole. 

The Chief Robert T. Bettenhausen scholarship, sponsored by the VCOS, is awarded to IAFC-VCOS members only

The Chief Robert T. Bettenhausen scholarship seeks to assist chief officers from volunteer and combination departments which lack the financial resources to offer professional development to their leaders. The scholarship will be awarded based on the applicant's description of how the knowledge gained at VCOS's annual Symposium in the Sun will contribute to the betterment of their leadership skills and improved functioning at their department. 

The 2018 application period is closed. Applicants for the scholarships must be members of the IAFC and VCOS.

The successful applicant is notified by mid-September and is awarded their $1500 scholarship check at the Symposium. Therefore, scholarship recipients must be prepared to pay upfront expenses.

Please contact board members Chief Ed Rush at ERush@hartsdalefire.org or Chief Jason Catrambone at jasonc@ci.williston.nd.us with any questions regarding the Symposium scholarship program or the application process.

Emerging Leader Scholarship

The Gasaway Consulting Group, LLC is sponsoring a $1,500 Emerging Leader Scholarship to assist with registration and travel expenses for the VCOS Symposium in the Sun. "I am a big proponent of the concept of paying it forward," noted GCG President Dr. Richard B. Gasaway. "The VCOS and the Symposium in the Sun have played a very important role in my development as a chief officer. I am delighted to be able to give back to the VCOS and help a new chief attend this world-class conference."

You do not need to be an IAFC-VCOS member to apply for the Emerging Leader Scholarship. This scholarship is open to all ranks including new fire chiefs, officers and firefighters. The applicant must be an emerging leader.

The 2018 application period closed Friday, August 3.  The successful applicant is notified at the beginning of September and is awarded the $1500 scholarship check at the Symposium. Therefore, the scholarship recipient must be prepared to pay upfront expenses.

Emerging Leader Scholarship Winners
  • 2017:  Chief Joseph Bartos, West Point (Va.) Fire Department
  • 2016:  Captain Jeff Gooch, Cranberry Township (Penn.) Volunteer Fire Company
  • 2015:  Captain Adam Farrar, Scott Township (Ind.) Fire Department
  • 2014:  Asst. Fire Marshal/Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Dan Kerrigan of East Whiteland Township (Penn.) Department of Codes and Life Safety
  • 2013:  Captain Brian Taylor of the Bazetta Township (Ohio) Fire Department
  • 2012:  Fire Chief Ryan Pierson of the Pitman (N.J.) Fire Department
  • 2011:  Fire Chief David DeRoller of the Sea Breeze (N.Y.) Fire District
  • 2010:  Fire Chief Scott F. Brewer of St. Tammany (La.) Parrish Fire District #9 is the winner of the first Gasaway Emerging Leader Scholarship.

VCOS Symposium in the Sun Scholarship

$1500 VCOS-sponsored scholarship is awarded to IAFC-VCOS members only

This VCOS-sponsored scholarship program was developed to assist chief officers from volunteer and combination departments which lack the financial resources to offer professional development to their leaders. The scholarships will be awarded based on the applicant's description of how the knowledge gained at VCOS's annual Symposium in the Sun will contribute to the betterment of their leadership skills and improved functioning at their department. 

The 2018 application period is closed. Applicants for the scholarships must be members of the IAFC and VCOS.

The successful applicant is notified by the beginning of September and is awarded their $1500 scholarship check at the Symposium. Therefore, scholarship recipients must be prepared to pay upfront expenses.

Please contact board members Chief Jim Cook at Jcook@leesburgfire.org or Chief Chuck Flynn at cflynn@suffieldct.gov with any questions regarding the Symposium scholarship program or the application process.

Symposium in the Sun Scholarship Winners
  • 2017:  Captain Richard Andrews, Gilford (N.H.) Fire-Rescue and Chief William Jones, Roanoke Island (N.C.) Volunteer Fire Department
  • 2016:  Chief William Rector, Dunkirk (Md.) Volunteer Fire Department Inc.
  • 2015:  Chief Tim Stuckey, Sheridan (Ark.) Fire Department and Battalion Chief Corinne Piccardi, Cabin John Park (Md.) Volunteer Fire Department
  • 2014:  Chief Ken Ranalli of the Demorest (Ga.) Fire Department and Chief Jennifer Williams of the Southeast Chickasaw (Miss.) Volunteer Fire Department
  • 2013:  Deputy Chief David Hodges of the Maryville (Tenn.) Fire Department and Chief David Weiss of the Westmont (Ill.) Fire Department
  • 2012:  Fire Chief Donna Black, EFO, of the Duck (N.C.) Fire Department and Fire Chief Jason Catrambone of the Spanish Peaks-Boncarbo (Colo.) Fire Protection District
  • 2011:  Firefighter/EMT Amanda K. Gingell of the Harrisville (R.I.) Fire Department and Fire Chief John R. Nixon, Antioch (Ill.) Fire Department
  • 2010:  Fire Chief Jeff Karrow of the Alexandria (Minn.) Fire Department and Assistant Chief Kevin D. Hardwick of the Glendale (Ohio) Fire Department
  • 2009:  Chief Mike Vaughn of the Washington (Ill.) Fire Department and Chief Mark Ellis of the Potterville (R.I..) Fire Department were the recipients of the first VCOS Symposium scholarships.

Symposium in the West Scholarships

VCOS Symposium in the West announced 2 NEW scholarships for the 2018 conference May 3-5 in Phoenix. This scholarship is dedicated to the memory of Frank Byrne, a long-time volunteer firefighter for Collingdale (Pennsylvania) Fire Company #1.

Two award recipients received full conference registration and a $1,000 travel stipend for attendance to the 2018 conference.

Scholarship applications will open in early 2019. 

You do NOT need to be an IAFC-VCOS member to apply. The successful applicants will be notified by the end of March and will be awarded the $1500 scholarship check at the Symposium. Therefore, the scholarship recipient must be prepared to pay upfront expenses.

Symposium in the West Scholarship Winners
  • 2018: Fire Chief Allen Wilson, Surf City (N.C.) Fire Department, Lieutenant Andy Babcock, Yakima County (Wash.) Fire District #5, Fire Chief John Whisenant Beaver Lake (Ark.) Fire Department.

Fire-Rescue International (FRI) Scholarships

$1500 VCOS-sponsored scholarships are awarded to IAFC-VCOS members only

The Volunteer & Combination Section (VCOS) of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) awards two $1,500 scholarships to attend Fire-Rescue International (FRI) each year. This scholarship program was developed to promote leadership through learning among volunteer and combination officers.

Scholarships are awarded based on the applicant’s description of how the department or attendee will benefit from attendance at FRI.  Applicants for the scholarships must be members of the IAFC and VCOS. The 2018 application period closes June 1. Winners are notified in early July and are awarded the scholarship checks at FRI. Therefore, scholarship recipients must be prepared to pay upfront expenses. Scholarship recipients are expected to attend classes and fully participate in FRI. The scholarship will be presented at the VCOS Annual meeting at FRI in Dallas.

The application period for the FRI Scholarship has closed. The 2019 application period will be open spring 2019. 

Please contact board member Chief Donna Black or Chief Jason Catrambone with any questions regarding the FRI scholarship program or the application process.

VCOS FRI Scholarship Winners
  • 2017:  Operations Chief Michael Blackwill, Windsor Severance (Colo.) Fire Rescue Chief Jonathon Mills, Olympia (N.C.) Volunteer Fire Department
  • 2016:  Chief Ryan Pierson, Highland Chemical Engine Company (N.J.) and Captain Andrew DeVries, Bayside (Alaska) Fire Department
  • 2015:  Chief Kevin Cooney, South Windsor (CT) Fire Department and Chief Christopher Maeder, Fairview (NY) Fire District
  • 2014:  Lieutenant Charles Bailey, Rineyville (Ky.) Fire Department and Chief Timothy Morrissey, Sherborn (Mass.) Fire Department
  • 2013:  Chief Stephen N. Pegram of Goshen Township (Ohio) Fire & EMS and Senior Group Captain Leonard William Carter, EFO of New South Wales (Australia) Rural Fire Service
  • 2012 :  Deputy Chief Stephen Addezio of Evesham (N.J.) Fire Rescue and Deputy Chief Jason Caswell of Hope Valley-Wyoming (R.I.) Fire District
  • 2011:  Fire Chief Dennis Covey of Malabar (Fla.) Fire Rescue and Battalion Chief Robert Talburt of the Logan-Rogersville (Mo.) Fire Protection District
  • 2010:  Fire Chief Ty Dickerson of the Lexington (Va.) Fire Department and Fire Chief Adam Farrar of the Wadesville (Ind.) Fire Department
  • 2009:  Deputy Chief David Weiss of the Westmount (Ill.) Fire Department and Fire Chief Judy Thill of the Inver Grove Heights (Minn.) Fire Department were selected as the first winners of the VCOS FRI Scholarships.