September 22, 2023

Volunteer Fire Council members win scholarships

The National Volunteer Fire Council and CSU are pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 CSU scholarships. Peter Rucinski of Reno, Nevada, and Dan Federico of Pittsburg, Penn., will receive up to two years of tuition towards the degree of their choice from CSU. This is the third year that CSU has offered scholarships to NVFC members.

“We are grateful to Columbia Southern University for offering this outstanding opportunity to members of the NVFC,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “Congratulations to Chief Rucinski and firefighter Federico, who have demonstrated their dedication to the fire service, commitment to furthering their education, and their drive to achieve their goals through this scholarship opportunity. We received a record number of applications from across the nation, and we thank everyone who applied for the scholarships.”

Both Rucinski and Federico plan to use their two-year scholarships toward bachelor’s degrees in fire science.

Peter Rucinski


Peter Rucinski has been a volunteer firefighter since 1976 and currently serves as chief of the Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Department in Nevada. Education has always been important to Rucinski, and he encourages his department’s firefighters to pursue all types of educational opportunities such as training courses, certifications and degrees. His pursuit of a degree had to be put on hold when he was younger, and he is thrilled to now have the chance to achieve his dream.

Rucinski has worked hard to make his department the best it can be. He emphasizes training, regular drills, and the acquisition of needed equipment to insure members are able to deliver the highest-quality response to their coverage area. He is certified as a Nevada Fire Instructor I and II, has an American Heart BLS instructor’s card for CPR and first aid, and has earned his Nevada EMT-B Instructors certification. As chief in his department, he trains new firefighters and insures experienced firefighters are current with the latest techniques.

Rucinski feels that earning his online degree in fire science will enhance his abilities and skills as a chief and instructor. “To be able to administer to and train the firefighters with the latest and best available knowledge, I must advance my level of education,” he said.

Earning his degree will also make Rucinski more competitive in the job market.  “With the job market the way it is, education is key,” Rucinski noted. “I am so thankful to the NVFC and CSU for this opportunity!”

Dan Federico


Federico has always known he was meant to be a firefighter, and he joined his local volunteer department at age 18. He is currently a volunteer firefighter in Pennsylvania as well as a career EMT and rescue technician.

“This scholarship is very important to my personal, professional and educational growth,” Frederico said. He feels that furthering his education will enable him to better provide for his growing family as well as better serve his community as a first-responder. On a professional level, earning his degree will help him take on new challenges and move towards a leadership role.

Federico’s future goals begin with obtaining his degree in fire science. He will utilize the CSU scholarship to help complete his bachelor’s degree, and then he plans to continue to the next level with a master’s degree in either public administration or Homeland Security. He hopes to become a fire science instructor and provide the next generation of first-responders with the most advanced information.

“They say you never stop learning, and in fire science you can’t stop learning without becoming obsolete,” Federico said.