CARLISLE—For many, thinking about end of life decisions is a difficult and uncomfortable discussion that too often is put off until it is too late.
For first responders, it is an essential conversation given the inherent danger of the job. That is why Dickinson Law teamed with Wills For Heroes to provide the free service of creating end-of-life documents for first responders and their families.
“I think it’s important that we give back to the community,” Megan Riesmeyer, director of community law clinic at Dickinson Law, said during Saturday’s event. “These are folks who give their time and give their lives and services to us every day in dangerous situations. This is a small way we can give back to them and show our thanks to them.”
Attorneys, students from Dickinson Law and Widener University School of Law, notary publics and other community members donated their time to help put on the event held at the Cumberland County 911 Center.
Wills For Heroes is a national nonprofit organization that provides free end-of-life documents to first responders. Riesmeyer said the documents included wills, living wills and powers of attorney.
This is the sixth year and seventh time that the Wills For Heroes event has been hosted by the school.
By about 1:30 p.m., only two and half hours after the doors opened, about 60 sets of documents had been drawn up and processed.
Riesmeyer said the documents can typically cost several hundred dollars to create.
“We recently had a child in the last year and we always wanted to get something drawn up,” Ryan Loper, an officer with the East Pennsboro Township Police Department, said as he sat next to his wife, Kahla, before going to speak with an attorney. “We decided this event would be a good time to get this done.”
The 30-year-old couple said they recently started a family, putting the concern for their daughter if the worst should happen to them at the forefront of their minds.
“If something happens, we just need to know what’s going to happen to our daughter, that she’ll be taken care of,” Kahla Loper said.
While Saturday’s event was focused on first-responders, Riesmeyer stressed the need for everyone to prepare documents before it is too late.
“For anybody, they need to make their wishes known,” Riesmeyer said. “If you’re not able to communicate your wishes, you need to have your loved ones know what you want to have done. I think we’ve all seen in the news where unfortunate things have happened and loved ones don’t know what they want to have happen, and there are battles between family members. That’s not what any of (us) want to see. Being able to tell people what we want done now ... is important.”