© Photo Courtesy of First Responders Children’s Foundation
First Responders risk their lives every day to come to the rescue for us. When these heroes make the ultimate sacrifice, First Responders Children’s Foundation supports the brave children left behind.
By Will Richter and Jodie Burke
For 21 years, First Responders Children’s Foundation (FRCF) has supported the children and families of first responder heroes, across the United States, who risk their lives every day in service to their communities. First responders have uniquely stressful jobs—they face everything from pandemics to extreme weather to wildfires and countless other situations that put them in harm’s way, and the children of first responders often experience secondary trauma due to these unique pressures.
“You go on scene, and you see the bodies kind of mangled up,” said Andrea Enes, a firefighter and EMT in Tampa, FL who recently retired. “That’s something that I never experienced, except watching horror movies, and now I was living it. So, I just took a deep breath, you know? And my daughters… if I had a bad shift and came home, I tried not to look in their eyes,” she said, “because the eyes are the window to your soul. So, if I didn’t connect that way with them, then I thought, ‘They’ll be okay.’”
The FRCF Resiliency Program helps the children of police, fire, sheriff, EMTs and 911 dispatchers, who are often suffering in silence, cope by providing free and confidential counseling services to address fear, anxiety, isolation, loss of a parent, and other traumatic conditions.
“The risks we take—it’s a dangerous profession that we chose to pursue,” said Rafael Beaumont, an EMT in New York, NY. “I just wish the public knew that mental health is something that definitely affects all of us.”
“Therapy helps me grieve my father,” said Texas State University scholarship student Annie Rule, who tragically lost her father Deputy Constable Caleb Rule on the same day that she graduated from high school.
The Resiliency Program launched in May of this year, and proudly serves first responder families in California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee and Texas, with future plans to expand into more states.
“Our SERVPRO teammates see up close the physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing work that first responders do every day, as we go in to help clean up and restore after their work is done,” said Rick Isaacson, CEO of SERVPRO. “As a result of witnessing and appreciating the long hours, commitment, and sacrifice of first responders, which their families often have to bear,
SERVPRO has made it a point to give back. Our franchises are proud to support FRCF and thereby assist with noble causes like the Resiliency Program for first responders and their families.”
First responders put their lives on the line every day to help others. They always go the extra mile, rushing into harm’s way to rescue others. They put others first, causing their families to suffer when tragedy strikes and they don’t make it home.
SERVPRO CEO Isaacson added, “When a first responder makes the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, their children must deal with losing their mom or dad, an incredible heartbreak to endure—not to mention the economic challenges as a result of the tragedy. FRCF is such a special cause; it’s a way to bless these heroes’ legacies by providing for their families in a meaningful way.”