In early 2016, I agreed to ghostwrite a book for a retired fire lieutenant, which became a Writestream Publishing LLC release on May 31, 2016. Entitled, To Guard My Every Neighbor: Inside the Fire by Lieutenant Keith Schneider, part of the book’s purpose was to call attention to the problem of PTSD in first responders. Working closely with Keith and gaining a full understanding of the life of a firefighter (along with police, paramedics and 911 call center employees) opened my eyes. Although I knew about PTSD in military veterans, I had no idea that those who serve their local communities in uniform also suffered from it.
Through my efforts to promote the book, I made a contact with a man named Don Prince, via the HOW Foundation of South Florida, with whom one of my best friends, Theresa Bonnie, had a close contact: Executive Director Sarah Crane. Sarah connected me with Don, whose information I passed along to Keith as a resource and possible partner in book promotion.
As much as I love what I do, which offers me the convenience of working from home, at times it feels as if I’m in a vacuum — social media, Skype and other methods of communication aside. I know I am on purpose and never doubt that I’m on the right path, but it’s always nice to receive what we call in Tasha Chen’s community, “evidence.”
Yesterday, I received the best possible evidence when Don Prince contacted me “out of the blue” with this welcome message:
I wanted to share with you that because of your introduction to Keith he referred my name and number to a firefighter who was struggling and needed help up in his area. We were able to get him into a trauma retreat a few weeks ago and he had an amazing transformation and experience in those five days… You never know how you are able to someone just by a simple introduction.
Don, thank you for letting me know! I believe seemingly small gestures can lead to amazing outcomes, and this is another wonderful example of that. I am so happy for the firefighter and grateful to you for your dedication in assisting him and others who need it!
To which he responded with an answer that made my day:
It is an amazing feeling… to be honest because of all this you probably saved his life in the big picture. I don’t think he was going to hold on much longer.
We never know what a seemingly small action can lead to. In this case, I followed a lead with the intention to promote a book and raise awareness about a critical issue for first responders…and received the best possible feedback on my work.
The man in question who needed help is now creating magnificent photos like this one to help with his healing.
Don is a person in long term recovery from many years of an alcohol addiction. He is an International Master of Addiction Coaching (IMAC) and a Nationally Certified Advanced Clinical Intervention Professional (NCACIP). He is the father of two amazing children, a husband and has an unparalleled passion for helping others to achieve their dreams and goals in order to excel in life and prosper.
He has been instrumental in opening a select few recovery related businesses and organizations, most recently co-founding the 11th Hour Retreat, in addition to co-founding a first responder specific addiction treatment facility that was exclusive to public safety professionals, opened a hair salon in Delray Beach, Florida which hired stylists in recovery and gave them a new start in a safe working environment and started a recovery coaching and intervention practice that has grown to reach those in need from coast to coast.
And the mission of The 11th Hour Trauma Retreat:
The 11th Hour Trauma Retreat is an intensive PTSD/Trauma resolution therapy program specifically designed to help first responders, veterans and their families who have been affected by trauma.
The 11th Hour program was developed to jumpstart the healing process so that those suffering from trauma can reclaim their lives, continue in their careers, and most importantly, reconnect with families and loved ones without feeling isolation or shame. Feel free to browse around the site and explore the therapy services that the 11th hour offers.
Thank you, first to Keith, for his courage in sharing his own personal journey via his book, To Guard My Every Neighbor: Inside the Fire, and to Don, for all of his work on behalf of first responders, veterans and their families dealing with the effects of PTSD. I’m also grateful to Don for letting me know about this man’s successful treatment. I don’t know who he is, and most likely never will, but I’m grateful he is now on the path to recovery and that one simple gesture led to an “amazing transformation.” It’s the best evidence of all.