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 Talking Points

First Responders Program
Department of New Mexico


> 1st Responders Program was created by the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) to

pay respect to and honor those that serve and protect our communities and who pay the supreme sacrifice.


> 1st Responders Program is a MOPH National Program for which funding was approved on

March 14, 2007.


> The recognition takes the form of a plaque or certificate. It is not a Purple Heart Medal.

> The 1st Responders Plaque is awarded to firefighters’ and/or police officers’ next of kin, at a

ceremony dedicated for this purpose.


> Under specific criteria, 1st Responders who are wounded in the line of duty may be eligible

to receive a certificate from MOPH.


> The award is presented in February each year on or about George Washington’s

Birthday (2/22).


> Our cutoff date for the presentation of an award on any given year is the month of October.

This is to ensure that all the necessary information is gathered and processed in time for a presentation on the following February. Incidents occurring after October 31st will be prepared and presented the next year.


> It is important that each Chapter Commander monitor all news/media sources and these

websites: www.firefightinglinks.com www.dps.state.nm.us/officerDown/index.htm http://www.odmp.org/ to ensure timely notification of any 1st Responders injuries or death.


> For this program to be successful, it is imperative that the 1st Responders Agencies inform

MOPH Chapter Commanders, in a timely manner, of any injuries or deaths within their agency.


> New Mexico’s Program Coordinator is Ben Tafoya; a New Mexican native, with 31+ years of

city, state, and federal law enforcement experience. He can be contacted at (505) 610-4483 or bentafoyapi@comcast.net


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