Federal employees help New Mexico fire victims

klunney@govexec.com

It's not time for the annual Combined Federal Campaign, but federal employees are pulling out their checkbooks to help those in need. Recently, federal workers donated more than $45,000 to help those who lost their homes and personal property to the wildfires in Los Alamos, N.M. this past May.

The Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA) and the Energy Department's Northern New Mexico Fire Recovery Fund provided $46,260 in financial assistance for employees who were forced to relocate or whose property was destroyed by the fires. A spokeswoman for FEEA said 15 to 20 families benefited from the grants.

Employees at the Energy Department's Los Alamos National Laboratory and offices of the Social Security Administration and the Agriculture Department were affected by fires that swept through New Mexico in May.

The funds were raised through contributions from federal employees and other private donors. FEEA is nonprofit organization providing educational benefits and emergency assistance to civilian and postal federal employees and their families. The organization is funded entirely through federal employee contributions.

FEEA is administering the Northern New Mexico Fire Recovery Fund, which was established by Energy Secretary Bill Richardson.

The organization provided more than $150,000 in relief after the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City, Okla., and created an ongoing scholarship program for children who lost parents in the tragedy.

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