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The Other Side of the Hero

In February of 2017, I had the privilege of viewing one of the first screenings of The Other Side of the Hero while attending/speaking at a peer support conference in Toronto.  This documentary is both an excellent educational tool and conversation starter for first responders, their families, and the public at-large whom we serve. I had the opportunity to speak with Co-Producer Enrico Colantoni and found that his passion and enthusiastic support of first responders extends far beyond the character he portrayed on television.   – Tim

The Illinois Firefighter Peer Support Team is honored to announce that we will be hosting a screening of HERO at our symposium on March 21st, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel located in Oak Brook, Illinois. 

The following is the official press release and trailer for HERO:

The cost of heroism— independent documentary the Other Side of the Hero gets up close and personal with first responders A documentary is doing its part to let first responders know that it’s okay to talk about PTSD and other mental health issues. In fact, says Producer Enrico Colantoni, “It’s time to talk — and we want our documentary to help get this important conversation going.”

Actor Enrico Colantoni, who played Sgt. Greg Parker on the popular series, Flashpoint, produced the independent documentary The Other Side of the Hero with Canadian producer/director Karen Shopsowitz and producer Diana Warmé.  Colantoni is also known for his work on shows that include Veronica Mars, Person of Interest, Travellers, and Just Shoot Me.

In The Other Side of the Hero, we get to know first responders who have experienced the flip-side of what can happen when a hero discovers that they are not emotionally immune to all that they deal with during their on-duty time.

Since its release, the documentary has been screened to many first responder groups in Canada and in several festivals, including DocUTAH, the New York Mental Health Film Festival, and YoFiFest (Yonkers, NY). The response from both the public and the first responder community has been inspiring. Notes one paramedic, “Watching HERO, I see different things all the time, hear things differently and see AHA moments that happen to the people in the film.” Adds this firefighter, “Just WOW!! As a first responder, this should be mandatory viewing.” The documentary focusses on paramedics, 911 dispatchers, police officers, and firefighters from across Canada and the United States, who talk about their experiences in intimate conversations with Colantoni. Joe Mantegna and Paget Brewster of the TV series Criminal Minds; David Eigenberg, Monica Raymund, and Eamonn Walker of Chicago Fire, and Alimi Ballard from Numb3rs are also featured in the film.  Says Enrico Colantoni, “Working as an actor who plays a cop cut close. My brother was a police officer for 30 years. The glamorization of the profession on screen is something that I recognize.”  When approached by fans who tell him they want to become a cop because of his show, Colantoni says, “You don’t want to be a cop, you want to be an actor!”

The Other Side of the Hero was produced with the support of the Rogers Telefund, The Canada Media Fund, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, CAVCO, and contributions from services and people all over the world through a successful Indiegogo campaign.

For more information, Shopsowitz can be reached at

This screening is free to all symposium attendees, and we are asking a donation of $10 from all others who wish to view this groundbreaking and informative documentary.


ILFFPS Symposium Speaker Wendy Lund

Today we will hear from Speaker Wendy Lund of Wellth Management

Sign up for the ILFFPS 2019 Symposium to see Wendy Lund’s session.

Tell our readers a little about your own journey

I graduated from as a RN when I was 19.  My clinical background largely was focused in the area of acute medicine and ICU.  

I began what would become a 32-year career as a professor at Centennial College in Toronto, Ontario.  Academically I was situated in teaching the sciences (physiology and pathophysiology) firstly to nursing students, but the last 22 years devoted to the paramedic program where coordinating also became part of my academic portfolio.   Read More

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Over the next several weeks I will be posting Q and A about the speakers at our first annual symposium.  This week we are going to hear from Annette Zapp, Lieutenant at the Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District.


Sign up for the ILFFPS 2019 Symposium and attend Annette Zapp’s session.

 Tell our readers a little bit about your own journey.
My journey has been a series of 90 degree turns that have led me from research to full-time fitness coaching to full-time firefighting to blending all of those careers together!  I earned an MA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine in the mid-90s.  I dabbled a bit in full-time research until I turned to a career in strength and conditioning.

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