Delaware Public Media

Hero Fund to pay tuition for children of fallen Wilmington firefighters

Apr 7, 2017

Some additional help is flowing to the families of two Wilmington firefighters killed in the line of duty last fall.


The Delaware Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund announced Wednesday it will pay all tuition expenses for the children of Ardythe Hope and Lt. Christopher Leach.


Children of firefighters killed in the line of duty qualify for free state-funded tuition at one of Delaware’s public universities. But all four of these kids are currently in private elementary schools or high schools.


Fallen Heroes founder Alan Levin said the scholarships will allow the children to continue their private education with the schools agreeing to pick up some of the tab.


“So they’ve basically taken a discount on the tuition because they see the need and the sacrifice that these kids and families have made,” he said. 


Hope’s two youngest daughters attend St. Elizabeth High School. One of Leach’s daughters attends Padua Academy, and his other daughter attends St. Ann School. 


The school's decision to pick up some of the tuition costs will leave more money in the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund for other children. 


The fund also covers tuition for private universities or out-of-state colleges until a child is 24 years old.


Levin started the fund in September specifically to help with education expenses for the children of first responders killed or injured in the line of duty. 


"From our perspective, these kids have had their lives literally turned upside down from the loss of their parents. And we felt one of the stabilizing things in their lives was their education,” he said.   


The grants this week are the first the fund has distributed. 

Leach and Senior Firefighter Jerry Fickes died battling a fire in a Canby Park row home last September. Hope died more than a month later, after succumbing to injuries she sustained in the blaze.   

A tenant of the home is suspected of setting the fire on purpose.

You can support the Delaware Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund HERE.