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Government shutdown 2013: Familes of fallen firefighters could feel impact

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - With only three days from a possible government shutdown, government agencies have begun notifying employees to be prepared to go on furlough as soon as next Tuesday. 

The Senate narrowly approved legislation on Friday to continue funding the government. The bill, however, includes funding for ObamaCare, which makes its status in the House questionable. 

But government workers won’t be the only ones feeling the pain of a shutdown. The impact could stretch to include family members of firefighters who lost their lives while protecting others.

Every year in Emmitsburg, Md., the nation honors firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“I actually got to hear his name read in front of a nation,” says Cathy Hedrick.

Hedrick remembers the day she lost her son. 

“For us, it was the end and the beginning of a journey that no one wants to go through,” she says.

In 1992, 18-year-old Kenny Hedrick died while searching for victims at a house fire in Prince George’s County. His mother says it is inconceivable that this year’s event may not be the same.

A memorial is still planned for next weekend at the National Fire Academy, but organizers were told that because of the potential government shutdown they needed to make alternate plans for the service.

A shutdown means they would not have access to the national memorial, which is at a site not considered an essential government facility.

Ron Siarnicki heads the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and says they’re scrambling to make alternate plans because they’re expecting 81 families from around the country.

“It’ll probably be the one and only time to see the national memorial where their loved one’s name is going to be placed on a bronze plaque there,” Siarnicki says.

If there is a shutdown, they plan to take the bronze plaque off campus so families can view it, but they won’t see the plaque in its final resting place – the monument.

“The government may shut down but if you call 911, that firefighter will come and help you no matter what," Hedrick says.

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