Newsletter April 2015
Illinois Fire Fighter Peer Support
SM
GREETINGS from Lt. Matt Olson, ILFFPS
Director
Table of Contents
Greetings
Matt Olson
Article 1
Training Complete/
Congratulations ILFFPS
Article 2
More Updates to ILFFPS
Firefighters helping each other
pg. 1
pg. 3
pg. 4
Article 3
What ILFFPS is/
pg. 5
A Team, Network, and Community.
Article 4
Reflection on What Peer
Support is to Me
pg. 6
Article 4
Are FFs Qualified…?
A List
pg. 7
Dear ILFFPS Team Coordinators, Team Members, Illinois
Firefighters and Family Members,
ILFFPS has had an active year in a lot of ways! We have trained
just over 50 peer supporters from a group of firefighters who
reached out to us because they share our passion for firefighter
wellness! They see in our group, an opportunity to advance the
conversation about mental health both within their place of work
and also within the larger fire service community.
ILFFPS has been able to connect with a number of firefighters
who have reached out to us for assistance. Primarily, the contact
has been through the website ilffps.org but also through our
phone number, 855-90-support (855-907-8776). Both email or
phone contacts are great because they allow us to get the people
who reach out to an appropriate peer supporter who is able to
connect with them.
Article 5
How Leaving Work at Work... pg. 9
Our Team has also been busy in other ways.
Article 6
Bridging the Gap
This year alone we have just completed our third training at the
end of March and have a fourth training at the beginning of May
this year. It is clear that this important message is spreading.
Article 7
Relationship Between
ILFFPS/FPS
pg. 10
pg. 11
Side Bar Articles
ILFFPS Mission Statement, Recognition
and Gratitude, ILFFPS Information,
ILFFPS Leadership Team, Lewis
University, ILFFPS Significant Other
Support, Do you Recommend a
Therapist, ILFFPS/FPS Mentorships
VISIT OUR WEBSITE
Additionally, Sarah Gura and I have been invited to speak with
two departments who had suffered losses among their own
members. We were able to meet with them and just have a
productive conversation. This experience became a good
example of peers stepping up to be there for each other. The
conversations began within those four walls and then were able
to be continued among the members of those departments even
after we left. What makes me feel the best is how to see how the
firefighters were able to have open minds and accept the
possibility of a healing conversation!
www.ilffps.org
VISIT OUR FACEBOOK
https://www.facebook.com/ILFFPS
Colleen Murphy and I have also led three groups of firefighter
spouses in a guided discussion about of experiences for me as a
firefighter and for her as a firefighter spouse. We will be meeting
again next month with another fire department to talk with their
Page 1 of 11
significant others to keep the conversation going!
Brad Carter has coordinated with Dan DeGryse at the Rockford
Harrison Campus to provide peer support once a week to the
firefighters going through the Florian Addiction Treatment
Program. That has become an opportunity that is well received
by the group and always seems to be a source of inspiration for
the peer supporters!
ILFFPS Mission Statement
To serve the fire service
family by providing trained
peer supporters who can give
confidential, appropriate, and
supportive assistance
ILFFPS Vision Statement
The Illinois Fire Fighter Peer
Support Team seeks to
participate in the
contemporary movement
toward holistic wellness in
the fire service by allowing
peer support to become an
integral part of the
organization.
Value Statements
The Illinois Fire Fighter Peer
Support Team values the
concept of Brotherhood in
which firefighters have
supported one another. This
includes understanding that
we have a duty to all
firefighters equally, and that
we are all deserving of
genuine support by our peers
in a time of need, no matter
the need.
We have also added two additional individuals to our Leadership
Team to allow for growth and additional support so that all of us
can continue to serve each other. Champaign Fire Department’s
Engineer and Firefighter of the Year Joshua Jessup as the Lead
Peer Coordinator and Firefighter Psychological Support
Therapist Cody Todd M.A, L.C.P.C., N.C.C. as a Clinical
Consultant. Both of them have a vigorous passion for the work
we are doing and have been working extremely hard to support
our mission.
With our growing Team through training and development it will
be our ongoing effort this year to reach out to as many fire
departments as possible to continue to introduce our
program. We would like to help any departments or individuals
that may not be aware of us and how we can be here to facilitate
positive change.
Overall, when we are able to get in front of firefighters and talk
to them about who we are and why we are here, it is an idea that
is embraced. Firefighters understand how difficult the challenges
are that we face are and are open minded to helping each other
make it safe. When we are young candidates we learn about
physical safety: that fire will burn us, that smoke will suffocate
us, and to sound a floor before walking on it so that we do not
fall through. ILFFPS wants to teach our firefighters to learn
about emotional and mental safety so that you do not get burned,
suffocated
or
fall
through. We can make
it safe for each other!
Respectfully
with care,
and
Lt. Matt Olson
VISIT OUR WEBSITE
www.ilffps.org
VISIT OUR FACEBOOK
https://www.facebook.com/ILFFPS
Page 2 of 11
In Recognition and
Gratitude
The Illinois Fire Fighter Peer
Support Team would like to
thank the ILLINOIS FIRE
SERVICE INSTITUTE for
hosting our March/April
training!
Your gracious offering of
space allowed us to continue
sharing our mission with 23
firefighters who joined a
team of dedicated people.
Truly, THANK YOU for
supporting the ILFFPS team
and its mission!
Another Firefighter Peer Support Training is Complete!
On March 30th, 31st, April 1st –the Illinois Fire Fighter Peer Support
leadership team and 23 firefighters gathered to complete the third
“Illinois Fire Fighter Peer Support” training! We spent three days
together getting to know the ILFFPS Team and its mission and
goals, discussing specific personal and professional firefighter
concerns, and practicing firefighter psychological first aid skills.
We believe that this class continues to be a very powerful
experience for all and an incredible growing opportunity!
We look forward to our fourth training in May 2014!
Because we are playing catch up with the newsletter we would like
to acknowledge ALL of our team members thus far as they are
creating and being part of something powerful and a growing
resource for firefighters in Illinois!
…to the firefighters who have completed
the ILFFPS Training
Did we say THANK
YOU!? And how
GRATEFUL
we
ARE!?
Brian Barna
Brian Blaauw
Craig Bowden
Marc Doty
John Elashik
Robin Gorsline
Tim Grutzius
Mike Kilburg
Mark Klamut
Richard McCormick
Tammey Morris
Tom Rafferty
Tom Roate
Troy Snider
Ron Two Bulls
Brad Carter
John Antos
Jason Boyles
Danielle Fary
Chad Lovell
Mary Robbins
Dale Smith
Todd Anderson
Stuart Blade
Chris Coats
Rhonda Foster
Chris Humer
Barry Miller
Jimmy Zindars
Paul Gardner
Tom Howard
Jason Dexter
Mike Karban
Craig Krsek
Dave Foreman
Jack Berry
Mike Bloom
Art Zern
Pete Dyer
Mark Findlay
David Griffin
John Halgren
Kevin Kalbach
Bill Leddin
Scott Moran
Andrew Perry
Art Raunch
Andy Scott
Paula Tomczak
Chuck Wehrli
Matt Daly
Jeff Hall
Charles Jeanblanc
Kelli Krupa
John Sardina
Andy Dina
Brian Sleigher
Dave Ashby
James Childers
Paul Cundiff
Todd Hitt
Jon Jenkins
Randy Smith
Ryan Hanson
Kyle Dillon
Jim Nichols
Daniel DeGryse
Kevin Kelly
Bob Martin
Jim Scharnhorst
Joshua Jessup
Page 3 of 11
ILLINOIS FIRE FIGHTER
PEER SUPPORT
INFORMATION
We are repeating this
information from a past edition
of our newsletter. As we
continue to grow and serve each
other we want you to know what
we are and the extent to which
we can serve each person who
needs us efficiently.
We are NOT a Critical
Incident Stress Debriefing
(CISD) Team
CISD providers are specifically
trained in providing a debriefing
after a critical incident. ILFFPS
is not trained in providing this
service. Also, ILFFPS is NOT
an emergency service.
Peer supporters are firefighters
(active or retired) who are
trained in basic firefighter
psychological first aid. They
can provide a low level of
support –even as simple as
“listen and refer” (refer to a
service that best suits the needs
a firefighter might have). We
provide “productive and healing
conversations” to help a
firefighter in a time of need, no
matter the need. We are also
here to set an example and to
prove to firefighters they are not
alone.
We ARE a Peer Support Team
For the intents and purposes of
firefighter peer support teams,
peer support is defined as a
service provided by an
individual or group of trained
firefighters who respond to
firefighters in need –whether
that need be a personal or
professional concern. Peer
support also seeks to help fire
service personnel reduce stress
and diminish the negative
More Updates to ILFFPS!!!
That is three explanation points, to show how we are so
pleased to announce that there have been so many new
improvements to ILFFPS which will allow us to better serve
each other! As we continue to grow, we have spent countless
hours discussing and implementing these ideas. We have an
enthusiastic and passionate Team that is full of great ideas
that we are utilizing to effectively respond to the emergent
need.
A few things to mention, first our Policy and Standard
Operating Procedure Manual has been updated! It includes the
latest and greatest with topics like Continuing Education (i.e.,
how to get them, how to track them, and who to send them
too), High Risk Policy with a call tree and extended role
descriptions. Additionally, we have added a new Lead Peer
Coordinator Joshua Jessup and a new Clinical Consultant
Cody Todd M.A., L.C.P.C., N.C.C. who together with
Communications Coordinator Christy Coop have created an
improved infrastructure to allow ILFFPS to digitalize and
track information in an enhanced way. Peer Coordinator Jason
Dexter has been feverishly working on getting all of this
information to the website, so check back often for all the
updates! ILFFPS has also welcomed two new Peer
Coordinators Stuart Blade and Mike Kilburg to facilitate our
Supporters.
We also are creating an optional form as suggested by our
Peer Coordinator Andrew Perry for ILFFPS team members to
fill out with areas that they are more interested or comfortable
working with. Andrew and the rest of the Leadership Team
felt that this could allow us to serve Firefighters in getting
them with someone quicker who is the best match. We also
have established a Quarterly meeting schedule in April, July,
November, and January. Following these mid- meetings, look
for the ILFFPS newsletter to follow.
Our Team is so grateful for all the help that each and every
one of you has given to facilitating ILFFPS into a real,
tangible and important facet to our Fire Service Culture!
Page 4 of 11
emotional effects of this
occupation. Peer support is a
helping resource for fire service
employees and their families.
specifically acknowledges the
importance of addressing
mental/behavioral health needs
for fire service employees and
their families. Our goal is to
increase the acceptance of this
need through the practice of peer
support.
Peer Support is Totally
Voluntary
Peer support is only provided to
individuals and groups of
firefighters who request it. Inperson and/or phone/email
contact is scheduled by
appointment. Peer support
cannot be required, or a
mandated service. When a
firefighter(s) wants the help –we
will provide the support. This
makes ILFFPS different from
other services that can be
mandated through the fire
service chain-of-command.
Peer Support within Your
Department
Peer supporters are
activated/requested through
ilffps.org and/or our contact line
855-90-support (855-9078776). ILFFPS peer supporters
may provide peer support within
their departments formally or
informally as it is requested.
However, firefighters may need
to talk to someone else who is
outside of their department.
Firefighters should never think
they have to talk to a peer
supporter they did not
personally choose.
Illinois Fire Fighter Peer Support is a Team, a Network,
and a Community
Sarah A. Gura, M.A., L.C.P.C. ILFFPS Clinical Consultant/Trainer
FPS Therapist
As we finished our first year as an official 501 (c) 3 in the State of
Illinois, I have experienced Illinois Fire Fighter Peer Support as an
idea in the basement of a fire department, a first-time training
experience, and an actual service that has helped firefighters. I
have had the honor of meeting and working with some of the most
incredible people who are dedicated to making it safe for other
firefighters to call “MAYDAY for mental health.”
Not only do we provide a service, we have created a culture that is
becoming a community of support amongst firefighters. In that
way alone, I believe we have exceeded our expectations for this
team. I love the community that we are creating. I look forward to
more firefighters embracing it. I have supervised peer supporters
having healing and meaningful conversations in the last year; it is
awesome! By the end of May 2015, we will have completed four
training events; that is remarkable! Firefighters seem to be
enjoying getting together and talking about firefighter behavioral
health more than I ever thought would be possible. This is so
admirable and inspiring.
The peer support team has started to make it safe to share
experiences as well as private thoughts and feelings, which has
become a connecting force that is so comforting. I think this is
such a wonderful and extraordinary accomplishment. When I think
about the history of firefighter behavioral health and how many
firefighters chose isolation, or alcohol, or unfortunately –suicide, I
know that we are creating access to a new community of
firefighters who are healing, who are well, and who want to help.
We are not re-doing a program or service, but instead we are
connecting everyone through understanding and support. I love it,
and I am so thankful for it. My love and gratitude is extended to
this impressive group of firefighters and paramedics. And, if you
would like to join us, please do!
Page 5 of 11
ILFFPS
LEADERSHIP TEAM
Reflection on What Peer Support is To Me
Lt. Tim Grutzius Peer Coordinator
Matt Olson, ILFFPS Program
Director
Joshua Jessup, ILFFPS Lead Peer
Coordinator
Christy Coop, ILFFPS
Communications Coordinator
Jason Dexter, ILFFPS Peer
Coordinator for NE/NW regions
Tim Grutzius, ILFFPS Peer
Coordinator for NE/NW regions
Brad Carter, ILFFPS Peer
Coordinator for Cook/SW regions
Last week, the Illinois Firefighter Peer Support Team (under the guidance
of Sarah Gura and Matt Olson) held its third training program at the
Illinois Fire Service Institute in Champaign. As a team member, I attended
the first day of class and had the honor and privilege of sharing my story
with the new group of applicants, and they with me. Listening to a fellow
firefighter’s story has always had a profound effect on me and I learn
something different, or confirm what I already knew, each time I go
through this experience. Before I share my observations I want to tell you
a little more about our team.
As Program Director Matt Olson put it: “The ILFFPS was the brainchild
of Sarah Gura” (a licensed professional clinical counselor) who
recognized a population in the State of Illinois that was underserved in the
realm of behavioral health, that being firefighters and their families.
Through the collaborative efforts of Sarah, Matt, and a core group of
dedicated firefighters who were passionate about behavioral health, the
ILFFPS was born. The inaugural training was held in April of 2014, and
as of this writing the third group of applicants are now team members.
This organization is a work in progress, but continues to grow in strength
with each passing day. That being said, peer support has a much deeper
meaning to me, something I confirmed this past Monday.
As each story was laid out on the table (so to speak), I could feel the angst
as well as see the tears flow from many of my brother and sister
firefighters. Most of the personal pain was the result of bearing witness to
the horrors that our profession often heaps upon us. However, many
related about hardships and traumas that were inflicted upon them long
before they entered the fire service (personal history can have a direct
bearing on how one will respond to or act out upon, should a future
incident of a similar nature strike an emotional cord). Coupled together, it
is no wonder why so many of us suffer from behavioral health issues. As I
drove home that day, I reflected on my experience and came to a sudden
realization:
Those of us that make up the team are bound by a common thread that the
concept of peer support, or behavioral health for that matter, was not
discussed in the firehouse when we began our careers. I can only speak for
myself in saying that I wished it had existed when I was a rookie, as it
would have saved me a whole lot of emotional and physical turmoil. If I
were a betting man (and I am not), I think most of my fellow team
members would echo my sentiments.
We all learned the hard way, and that is okay. For it is in these trials and
tribulations that we will take our lessons learned and answer the call for
help with a sense of confidence and compassion that knows no bounds. It
is our fundamental duty as a member of the human race to leave the world
a little better off than we found it, and as peer supporters I believe we will
do just that. It is for these reasons my friends why I say peer supporters
are the ambassadors to behavioral health. Not only for the fire service, but
for all humankind as well.
Page 6 of 11
Are Firefighters Qualified to Help Each Other?
Sarah A. Gura, M.A., L.C.P.C. ILFFPS Clinical Consultant/Trainer
FPS Therapist
Mike Kilburg, ILFFPS Peer
Coordinator for Cook/SW Regions
Stuart Blade, ILFFPS Peer
Coordinator for WC/EC Regions
Andrew Perry, ILFFPS Peer
Coordinator for S regions
Colleen Murphy, ILFFPS Significant
Other Coordinator
Sarah Gura M.A., L.C.P.C., ILFFPS
Clinical Consultant
Some firefighters have asked me if they can take the Illinois Fire
Fighter Peer Support (ILFFPS) training, but mentioned a concern
that they may not be well enough to be a supporter. Other
firefighters have thought that only senior firefighters should be peer
supporters. Some outsiders have shared concerns like, What if they
don’t say the right things to each other?
Similar to graduate programs in the field of psychology, which does
attract students who are trying to figure themselves and others out –
Illinois Firefighter Peer Support has attracted firefighters who have
been and who are hurt. I am sincerely happy and secure about this!
I understand people’s fears about behavioral health; and certainly I
have shared their thoughts and feelings –we are human. But if we
never face our fears, we will not make the progress we so
desperately need to make in the fire service.
My suggestion is that you do not judge yourself and others so
harshly. Any firefighter, from the walking wounded to the healedand-wise are welcome to take the Illinois Fire Fighter Peer Support
training. In my opinion, right now the fire service needs two
important supplements: 1) psycho-education, or learning
specifically about firefighter psychology, and 2) peer support, or
sharing/relating of experiences so that we make it safe for others to
come forward when they need to.
Having a class that is mixed with those who need help and who
want to help is a beautiful thing! Also, the fire service has to allow
behavioral health to start as young as the Fire Academy. We
cannot wait until a firefighter is in a leadership position to start
talking about firefighter behavioral health. Additionally, when
firefighters are helping others, they have the guidance of other
peers and clinical consultants –no one has to act alone. We will
learn to respond in the most appropriate and effective ways and we
will evolve as we gain experience.
I view this peer support team as an alive organism. As we grow
and develop this network, we are seeing where it is succeeding and
where it needs some parenting. This is no problem; eventually it
will get out of its infancy, be a rowdy teenager, and eventually a
mature adult. The ILFFPS leadership team is well-aware that we
Cody Todd M.A., L.C.P.C., N.C.C.
ILFFPS Clinical Consultant
Page 7 of 11
Lewis University
March 2015
Acknowledgement,
Recognition, and Gratitude
Below is a list of firefighters
who did something
incredible! They stood in
front of a classroom of
psychology students to share
their personal experiences
since being in the fire service.
May we continue to teach
and contribute to the
academic growth and
development of students who
may one day effectively help
us in a time of need because
we took the time to share
what was significant and
important to us.
In recognition of your
outstanding service and
significant contribution to the
Trauma and First Responders
Workshop at Lewis
University on Saturday,
March 21, 2015.
B/C John Maggio
F/C Dave Griffin
Cpt. Dana Buckley
Cpt. Heather Moore
D/C Mike Veseling
FF/PM Jason Dexter
B/C Shawn Collins
FF/PM Brad Carter
are operating from the ground up on this project, with almost no
research and with a lot of personal experience. We are being
witnessed by the entire fire service as we learn to walk, and I am
totally enjoying this process!
I hope that this clarifies a few things: 1) all firefighters are
welcome, 2) firefighter behavioral health can start immediately
upon starting the career, and 3) practice and experience makes
better. I am sincerely impressed with this team of firefighters, and I
totally believe that the fire service will be too! To each firefighter
that has completed the training, Thank you! You are being the
change that you wanted to see in the fire service, and I absolutely
love it.
“A-List”
…of Fire Departments who welcomed the “Intro to
Firefighter Behavioral Health” presentation into their
schedules for their crews and staff.
Thank you sincerely for supporting the Firefighter
Behavioral Health:
Troy (Shorewood), Bolingbrook, Channahon Manhattan,
Chicago Heights & Spouses, Mokena, Naperville, Buffalo
Grove, Plainfield & Spouses, Oswego, Batavia, Oak Brook,
Sycamore, DeKalb, Lombard, Sugar Grove, Lemont &
Spouses, Byron, DeKalb, Elgin, Homewood, Westmont,
Riverside, McCook, Forest View, Lake Zurich, Oak Lawn,
Oregon, Riverdale, Streamwood, Sycamore, Alsip, Aurora
Fire Academy, Berwyn, Bristol-Kendall, Kankakee, Cary,
East Hazel Crest, Elk Grove, Deerfield, Carle Hospital in
Champaign, Orland Park, Addison, Gurnee, McHenry,
Aurora, Arson Investigators, Downers Grove, Lombard,
Montgomery, Pleasantview, Champaign, Springfield, Dixon,
Bloomingdale, Manteno, Broadview, Hillside, Bellwood, and
Westchester.
UPCOMING: Argonne, Northbrook and New Lenox.
If you would like to schedule the “Intro to Firefighter Behavioral
Health” presentation, please contact: Sarah A. Gura, M.A., L.C.P.C. at:
www.ffbhil.com,
www.guracounseling.com
[email protected]
815-557-1267
FF/PM Brian Sleigher
Sincerely,
Sarah A. Gura, M.A., L.C.P.C.
Adjunct Instructor at Lewis University
Page 8 of 11
Firefighters’
Significant Others’ Support
Colleen Murphy
Over the last few months, Lt.
Matt Olson and I have traveled
to Alsip, Champaign, Elgin, and
Moraine Valley College to
present to spouses and
firefighters the missing link
between fire life and
family. The overall response
has been a positive one and with
every feedback form the
program improves to better fit
the needs of our audience. It has
been great to hear that
firefighters are being better
understood by their loved ones
resulting in more support for all
parties.
We are looking forward to more
presentations this spring and
summer. Word of mouth has
helped us reach many firefighter
couples. The best part has been
to know that creating such
awareness about the firefighter
career for the families is
resulting in a stronger
foundation for them to succeed
and be safer at work. With any
luck this will lead to boosting
morale around the stations as
well.
This domino effect is one we
want to continue to spread until
support, help, and awareness
become the new "norm" and the
high suicide rates and marital
graveyards are just a thing of the
past.
How Leaving “Work at Work” might be Effecting you at
Home
Collen Murphy ILFFPS Significant Others Support Coordinator
For many firefighters wearing the invisible scars that come with the
uniform do not always come off when the shift is over, the result…leaving
your loved ones at home confused.
When a married firefighter tries to shelter and says “I don’t want them to
know” he can be robbing himself and his partner at home of the
opportunity to make life easier off the job. Sharing what goes on at work
can lead to more open communication between you and your loved ones.
Not discussing work at all creates a wall that can ultimately leave you
both standing alone in the end; the very opposite of what you wanted
when you married in the first place.
Sometimes sharing something as simple as “last night we had a bad
accident” could be just enough to let your partner know you need space
and it has nothing to do with them. It may also be your way of saying I
need to talk.
When you open up the doors for communication you knock down the
walls of confusion. Your partner will be able to better recognize any
changes in your behavior and if they are not able to help, at the very least
they will be able to understand you better. Who does not want a partner
that gets them?
If the approach you have been taking was “I want to protect them from the
things I see” I encourage you to try something new and see if it serves you
and your family better. Remember, you are not expected to go through
this career alone and your family will appreciate your effort to be more
open. Your efforts to protect and shelter them by closing them off will
inevitably alienate and increase anxiety within the family dynamic.
Know your audience’s comfort level in listening to your work experiences
ahead of time. If you know your partners are sensitive then you know you
can paint a picture without every graphic detail. If your partner works in
the ER then you know details are appreciated.
If your current circumstances are not serving you both well at home then
now is a time to try being more open and trusting your partner to help
carry the weight. Both physical and emotional weight is always better
handled with two people. Remember we cannot see every injury that
walks through the door and as the wife of a firefighter, I can tell you the
stories that scare us the most are the ones you do not talk about at all.
For more information, email:
[email protected]
Page 9 of 11
Do you recommend a
therapist?
Bridging the Gap
Cody C. Todd M.A., L.C.P.C., N.C.C. ILFFPS Clinical
Consultant/Administration/Clinical Support
FPS Therapist
Take a look at this picture below. I want you to consider what I am trying
to show you. Perhaps, it would be easier to see if we take his tie off and
add full turnout gear, put boots on his feet and a helmet on his head. Are
you getting it yet?
Firefighter Psychological
Support (FPS) is a
comprehensive fellowship
program for licensed therapists
that will prepare them to provide
appropriate and effective
psychological support services
to firefighters and their families.
Therapists will complete a 40
hour training course, 40 hours of
ride-time (scheduled after the
initial classroom time), and 40
hours of supervised clinicals
with firefighters and/or their
family members.
If you believe a therapist may be
interested and a good match for
FPS, please contact: Sarah Gura,
FPS Director and Therapist at
[email protected]
Or, 815-557-1267.
Metaphorically, on one side of the ravine is your place of comfort and the
Fire Service culture you were raised in. The other side is taking a stand to
help your fellow Firefighter or ask for help yourself. I see bridging the gap
as reaching out to talk to someone you can see suffering or you reaching
out when you are. ILFFPS was created from the idea that Firefighters need
and can take care of EACH OTHER. Mental health is NOT something that
you take lightly when you are feeling good, why is the same when you are
feeling bad?
Thank you to the Illinois
Fire Chiefs’ Educational
and Research Foundation.
With the help of 3 grants
we have written the
curriculum, had it
copyrighted, and the logo
trademarked
You do not have to look down into the ravine and see sharks swimming,
but rather that dip is the peaks on top of a heart and rather you are standing
on a solid foundation of love. I know, gushy, but even within machismo
there can be room for it. Whether you are aware of it or not, you live
together, work together, trust each other and most likely spend more time
together than anyone else in your life. Why not support those with whom
you work with? Those whom you run into burning buildings with or
maneuver a stretcher down the stairs with?
A large part of being a Firefighter is being with civilians at their worst.
You see people suffering, losing parts of their lives, or things changing for
these people when they least expect it. As honorable and heroic as your
job is, you are still allowed to be a person too. And people can get hurt,
but they can also get better. Just as you would comfort a loved one, or a
civilian, you can comfort each other.
Do not be afraid to bridge the gap and take care of your own.
Page 10 of 11
Relationship Between FPS and ILFFPS
Illinois
Fire
Fighter
Peer
Support
Thank you for your
mentorship of the FPS
Therapists and Candidates!
These Firefighter Peer
Supporters and FPS
Candidates are committed to
working together to best
support the work we are all
doing!
Lt. Matt Olson
Sarah A. Gura, M.A.,
L.C.P.C.
FF/PM Brad Carter
Cody Todd, M.A., L.C.P.C.,
N.C.C.
Cody C. Todd M.A., L.C.P.C., N.C.C. ILFFPS Clinical
Consultant/Administration/Clinical Support
FPS Therapist
As stated throughout both the ILFFPS and FPS newsletters’ we are
all working tirelessly in creating a grassroots movement here in
Illinois to take care of the men and women of the Fire Service.
Although we have not had newsletters out since last year, we have
been training more and more ILFFPS Peer Supporters and FPS
Therapists.
Look for the ILFFPS newsletter and FPS newsletters’ to come out
one after the other starting now and into the future. The reason they
will be after one another is the updated Quarterly meeting schedule
for the ILFFPS will be mid-month April, July, October and
January. Look for meeting minutes to be posted to the website
www.ILFFPS.org.
From each of us involved with either ILFFPS, FPS or BOTH- we
all end our correspondences to each other with “take good care” “as
always take care” or “take care out there.” That CARE starts and
ends our days and is our motivation in continuing to work.
-So as always take good care out there,
Lt. Chuck Wehrli, Retired
Jada Hudson, M.S., L.C.P.C.
Lt. Brian Barna
Sandy Carlson, Ed.D.,
L.C.P.C.
-ILFFPS & FPS
Lt. Andy Scott
Olivia O’Hare, L.S.W.,
L.C.S.W.
Lt. Tim Grutzius
Bethany Juby, M.A.
Page 11 of 11
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Illinois Fire Fighter Peer Support