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First responder suicide prevention

Organized by IAEP LOCAL 92
Po20939739 front
First responder suicide prevention Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - front
First responder suicide prevention Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - back
First responder suicide prevention shirt design - zoomed
First responder suicide prevention shirt design - zoomed
Gildan Ultra Cotton T-shirt

The IAEP Local 92 needs your help to bring awareness to a silent killer amongst our ranks!

Custom Ink
All funds raised will be paid directly to International Association of EMTs and Paramedics Local 92 for Supporting the Code Green Campaign.
53 items sold
$340 raised
150 goal
Thanks to our supporters!
$20
Gildan Ultra Cotton T-shirt
Unisex - Sports Grey
Organized by IAEP LOCAL 92

About this campaign

There is a dirty secret amongst first responders. A topic we for some reason avoid. A profession full of those who answered a calling to help others in their time of need. The silent killer lurking in our ranks is suicide. We see the stories. We may even briefly talk about it. Time and time again though, we settle back in and pretend it isn't there. One of the biggest challenges is that the statistics simply aren't tracked. We don't know how many of our brave brothers and sisters have fallen victim to it. Maybe it's pride. Maybe it's fear of what might happen if we ask for help. Maybe we have fostered a culture that makes first responders think that asking for help is a sign of weakness. I don't have those answers. I wish I did. I wish that I never had to see a fellow first responder suffer. I wish I never had to attend another funeral. I wish I never had to witness the pain and grief that overcomes the ones left behind.

We can make a difference. We can educate. We can reach out. We can do better. That is why, the IAEP Local 92 will be selling tshirts this May and donating 100% of the proceeds to the Code Green campaign.

Shanes story:. Shane Owens was a bright young man. Barely starting his career in EMS. I first met him in 2003. He had made a choice to first serve his country and enlisted in the Army. He made the choice to train as an Army medic. Shane took to the training and excelled in everything he did. After completing the training, he was assigned to a unit in Germany that was soon to deploy to Iraq in the early years of the war. There is no way to fully describe the things that were seen or done in that environment, but Shane persevered through it all. There are American soldiers alive today because of him. His caring and compassion in an otherwise hostile world made the difference.

After returning home from his tour in Iraq, Shane continued to care for those who had suffered the most during this war. He took care of the wounded at Walter Reed Army Medical center. This was one of the first times I had ever seen him truly struggle. He began to drink heavily. The use of illicit drugs became more common in an attempt to numb the pain within. Once again, he rose to the challenge. He fought to get sober and even attended counseling for PTSD. He completed his 4 year enlistment and then continued to serve in the Army Reserve for years after that.

It was during this time that Shane joined the ranks of those in civilian EMS. He attended paramedic school and quickly got a job working for a 911 operation in Orlando. He ran countless calls. Saved countless lives. He brought joy to his coworkers. He had a smile that was infectious. People just naturally wanted to be around him. What everyone didn't see, was Shane struggled every day. He cared so much for those he was called to help. The loss of life was overwhelming for him. I spoke with him one Christmas and he was on the border of tears. I asked what was the matter. He was so terrified to run what we all refer to as the "Christmas code". The thought of having to tell someones family that they would never spend another holiday together brought him so much pain. One might say he cared too much.

In secret, Shane began to drink again. He hid this from most everyone. He fell into a depression that no one saw. He hid it so well. On May 10th 2012, Shane Owens took his own life. In a rage he trashed his apartment before retreating to his bedroom. He laid in his bed, and he shot himself. He was found by the woman he loved. I still remember what her screams sounded like as they brought his lifeless body from his apartment. This is a part of the story that is typically glossed over. Because it is painful. Painful for the ones that knew him. The ones left behind. The ones who to this day only want to know why.

I can't explain how this story makes me feel. For all of those moments spoken about, I was right there with him. Struggling with him. Getting help with him. Working together. Living together. He was my brother. Not by blood, but my brother none the less. Yet, this outcome surprised me. I never saw it coming. I thought that suicide would never hit so close to home. I had heard the stories of others. I always thought how sad it was. But it couldn't get to the ones I loved. Never.

Shanes story ended that day. My family is missing one of it's most important members. My children are growing up not knowing someone who was supposed to always be there for them. Shane worried about the families of patients that would never see another holiday together. We feel that pain now. Every birthday. Every Thanksgiving. Every Christmas. Any time we are all together, we know there is a seat that is unnecessarily empty. We have to do better. We have to change this for everyone else. We have to change the culture. Change the mindset. Make our first responders the first priority. We have to talk about it. Even the parts that are hard to talk about. Then we have to keep talking about it until it stops happening. For Shane, and every other first responder that left us oh so early.

Supporters

Michael Marasco 1 item
Anonymous 2 items
James Duggan 1 item + $10
Dennis Monroe 2 items
Rodney Tyson 2 items

I work in this field and see the need.

Cathy Klink 1 item
Michael Mahai 1 item
CHRISTOPHER M STENCEL 2 items
William Kaplan 1 item

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Matt Smith 1 item

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