General Assembly passes James ‘Dustin’ Samples Act to support firefighters suffering from PTSD

NASHVILLE – (April 21) The General Assembly passed the James ‘Dustin’ Samples Act, which seeks to provide support to firefighters following a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis. This is a legislative initiative funded by the General Assembly.

Sponsored by Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) and Representative Johnny Garrett (R-Goodlettsville), the legislation makes clear that a firefighter’s PTSD diagnosis connected to one or more calls of a particularly traumatic nature is presumed to be an injury suffered in the course of employment and qualifies for resources through their workers’ compensation benefits plan.

The bill establishes a grant program to mitigate the cost to an employer providing worker’s compensation for firefighters diagnosed with PTSD. In order to qualify for the grant, employers must provide mental health resiliency training as part of their continuing education program.

The bill is named in honor of Captain James ‘Dustin’ Samples of the Cleveland Fire Department, who tragically committed suicide in 2020 after a years-long struggle with PTSD.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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