New Scholarship Honors Extraordinary Life of Fallen Firefighter

National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
New Scholarship Honors Extraordinary Life of Fallen Firefighter
Alan Sondej's marker in the Walk of Honor at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Park in Emmitsburg, Md. (Bill Carey photo)

Emmitsburg, MD – Alan Patrick Sondej led a life of compassion and generosity. From his undergraduate days at Notre Dame University through adulthood, Sondej committed himself to helping others affected by poverty and hunger. He raised money for relief efforts and traveled the world to teach sustainable agriculture techniques.   

Alan Sondej also gave his time and energy to helping his local community. A graduate student at the University of Maryland, Sondej was a live-in volunteer firefighter with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George’s County, Maryland from 1977 – 1988. It was on his last night with the department before heading back overseas to teach that tragedy struck. While battling a house fire, Firefighter Alan Sondej sustained serious burns which eventually claimed his life.  

Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department:
Remembering Al Sondej – Died in the Line of Duty, March 16, 1988

In recognition of Alan’s spirit for giving, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has established the Alan Patrick Sondej Memorial Scholarship Fund for Families of Fallen Firefighters. This new scholarship will be part of the Foundation’s Sarbanes Scholarship Program and was made possible by a donation from a former volunteer firefighter from Prince George’s County. 

The scholarship will be formally introduced at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Al Sondej Memorial Scholarship Announcement & Alumni Event that will be held on Saturday, March 10th at 11:00 a.m. at the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department, 6200 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville, MD.   

“We were overwhelmed when contacted about establishing the scholarship in Alan’s name,” said Chief Ron Siarnicki, Executive Director of the NFFF. “This year marks the 130th anniversary of Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department. March 16 is also the 30th anniversary of Alan’s death. To be able to announce the scholarship at Hyattsville makes it that much more special for everyone.”  


About the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation 

The United States Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort to remember America's fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the nonprofit Foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers. The Foundation also works closely with the U.S. Fire Administration to help prevent and reduce line-of-duty deaths and injuries. For more information on the NFFF and its programs – including the Scholarship Programs – visit