My name is Colleen Murphy. I have been the wife of a firefighter for over 10 years. My life experiences have taught me things you won’t find on paper. From the time my husband was a “paid on call” employee, to a full time firefighter, and a carpenter/home inspector, I have witnessed firsthand the effects the job can have at home.
I believe that knowledge is not only power, but the much needed tool it takes to beat the odds in a culture that often times leaves loved ones with feelings of emotional neglect. After studying the link between behavioral health and the firefighter’s job, I decided that sharing my experiences would create a better understanding for the loved ones at home and ultimately create a safer, more balanced life for the firefighter.
I can provide a fresh perspective, support, and insight that will shed light for loved ones as well as tips and ideas to minimize concerns and fears that come with the role of being the significant other.
My name is Jack Berry.
My passions are my family, my dogs and Illinois Firefighter Peer Support. I’m also active in my Church and have a great relationship with God who has enough patience to put up with me no matter how difficult I make that for Him.
I am the Coordinator for our Immediate Group Needs team. Our team is responsible for responding when a traumatic incident occurs and immediate support is requested for a member, crew, shift or the entire Department or Departments involved. We are typically there within 48-72 hours. Our goal is not to replace any other organization or program but to offer a model that has proven to be tremendously well received. I often speak at various Fire Departments giving Peer Support presentations. I also speak frequently at the Florian Program at Rosecrance in Rockford Il.
My Fire Service career began in 1979 as an Apprentice Firefighter. Over my 30 plus year career I served as a Paid-On-Call firefighter, Dispatcher and Full time firefighter, retiring from the Franklin Park fire Department as a Lieutenant. I was always involved in the collective bargaining process, serving on the union boards of the various Departments where i worked. As Union president my philosophy was team building with a strong emphasis on building positive relationships between labor and management.I always try to have the “glass half full” mindset.
My involvement in Peer Support was driven by various events that spanned my career, Most of those that finally overwhelmed me happened during a relatively short period.. I have been personally impacted by 4 firefighter suicides, 3 of which were from my Department with the fourth being a personal friend on another Department. I was also the primary intermediary for my youngest brother who was involved in a firefighter Line of Duty Incident and the traumatic after effects of the events that followed. I also fought the good fight with my own personal demons including severe depression and substance abuse. My cycle didn’t end until I made the choice to call a mayday and seek help. It was through that process that I realized that we simply cannot be a Superhero. They are purely fiction. My biggest struggle was accepting the fact that it’s OK not to be OK. I’m doing great now and working hard to spread the message of Peer Support.
I am Chaplain Daniel Persinger and I serve for the Blackhawk Fire Protection District, Rockford Police and Fire Chaplains Division and a local hospital. On July 5th of 2012 my dream of becoming a career firefighter was taken away from me due to a diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy. Since then I have found a way to stay involved in the fire service and that is being a Fire and Police Chaplain. I have been involved in the fire service for 9 years total and 4 years as a Chaplain. I started off in late middle school doing fire explorers, ride along programs, to being on a roster for fire departments as a Chaplain. I have seen my fair share of traumatic calls, I have told people that a loved one is dead, attended LODD Funerals and I have been with people on the worst day of their life and have helped first responders process things. Through the grace of God I have been given these talents to serve my community and serve my first responders as a Chaplain with Muscular Dystrophy while using my crutches or my wheelchair.
I have been asked to be the Faith Coordinator and it is an honor to serve in this role. My main job is to assist with faith-based questions/issues that a firefighter might have or are rustling with. I am also reaching out to other Chaplains, so they know about ILFFPS. Untimely faith in the fire service and my position are another tool in the tool box. Don’t hesitate to reach out it has helped me. As I tell first responders from time to time – Have Fun, Be Safe, be Smart and at the end of our shifts/calls Everyone Goes Home.
I have served in the Fire and Emergency Medical Service for over 25 years. During that time, I have had the opportunity to work within various aspects of the mental, emotional, and behavioral health fields, including Juvenile Fire setter Intervention, Critical Incident Stress Management, and most recently Peer Support.
From the early days I have been involved with the Illinois Firefighter Peer Support program. I have participated in additional training in addictions, have led group sessions at Rosecrance, and have responded to numerous immediate need requests from departments throughout the state. With over 20 years of union leadership, I also have extensive experience with labor management relations and its impact on a department. In my career I have witnessed tremendous success in addressing the physical illnesses that are specific to fire and EMS. In recent years I have been moved to strive to normalize the discussions and to eradicate the stigma of mental and emotional issues.
I am honored to serve as the Outreach Coordinator for the Illinois Fire Fighter Peer Support make awareness training accessible to all those working in fire and EMS throughout the state.