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Find Support Through a Buddy

Our buddy program is an informal program. The individuals listed below have given us their permission to be featured on this page and want to be resources for you. Take the time to read their bios and see if you think they would be someone you can relate to. You can reach out to any or all of the folks here and receive a response. They are just to offer you their best and remind you that you are not alone. One more is one less!


My name is Donna, Gregory's mother. My husband Mike has been in Law Enforcement for over 40 yrs. He was a Coast Guard Reservist and is currently retired from the Army Reserves. He deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. I have two sons who are both first responders. Jeffrey is a Fire Captain and a Paramedic. Gregory is a police officer, prior Marine and currently in the Coast Guard. He was deployed to Japan. 


Hi. My name is Alana. I currently work as a medicolegal death investigator in Northern California. I started at my current office 6 years ago after moving to the Bay Area from my hometown near Seattle, WA. My career has shown me the dark side of humanity and how much people can hide. It's important for us to look out for each other. Besides being in nature, binging tv, and spending time with friends/family, the most helpful coping mechanism for me is talking. Being able to talk about all the shit we see can be a helpful way to process. Life is fucking hard, but there are people out there that want to help. To learn a little more about me check out episode 18 of The Overwatch Collective podcast. If you ever need to talk, I'm here to listen.


Hello, my name is Cheryl and I am Jesse's mom. I am married with two kids. Jesse my son, whom was the Marine and Kamryn my daughter. who is in college. I know what it is like having a son being gone for numerous amounts of time and not being able to to talk to him. I managed to talk to him as much as I could only when he was available. A child in college vs the military are NOT the same. Trust me you are not alone if your child who is deployed overseas and have no one to talk to or help you through the helplessness.  Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions regarding the Marines and how I handled my son being gone.

My name is Kelsey, I just left a 10 year career in aerospace to join the first responder community and have experience with coaching CrossFit and nutrition for almost 10 years. I am a huge believer in the importance of the mental health of First Responders, Military Service members, and their families, friends, spouses, and significant others. I am currently dating a Law Enforcement Officer and Military Service Member, so I understand the stresses that are associated with dating a first responder. I am the adult child of an alcoholic and have lost friends to drug and alcohol addiction as a result of anxiety / depression. and understand the struggles of recognizing, supporting, and being related to someone with an alcohol or drug addiction while also taking care of and creating boundaries for yourself. I know how tough it can be to experience anxiety, how isolated you can feel, and how scary the mental and physical symptoms that come with anxiety and depression can be… but you are not alone and no one’s journey is the same. If you are experiencing any of this or feel the want to reach out, I am just an email away from a phone call to talk or just listen, grab a coffee, or hit a workout / hike. Being a part of The Overwatch Collective has made such a positive impact on my life… “One More is One Less” – You are not alone and there are so many different ways to keep your mind healthy and happy.

I am a Bay Area Native proudly serving as a law enforcement officer. I started my career in 2016 in custody and have been working as a patrol officer since 2019. 

I studied criminal justice in college at Kentucky State University as a student-athlete and received my bachelor’s degree. 

I recently took my passion for health and fitness and received my nutrition coaching certification, aspiring to provide coaching services to fellow first responders with health and wellness goals.  I believe I can help those who experience similar lifestyles to me, such as long hours in shift work, physical and mental demands of the job while trying to find a balance of outside life.

I am honored to take part in The Overwatch Collective and work together to help our brothers and sisters in blue. 

My name is Taylor, I am a paramedic for AMR San Mateo County! I am currently on two specialized teams for AMR. I am a member of the Special Operations Emergency Disaster Response Team and Coordinator for the Community Outreach Team. The Disaster Response Team deploys Strike Teams to emergencies within our county, outside of our county, and to other states that are in need. Most recently, I was deployed to the Mexican border with the National Guard as a part of a Strike Team for mutual aid. Additionally, I run the Community Outreach Team with a fellow coworker. This specialized team interacts with the community through a variety of events educating the community regarding the 911 system and the work we do as EMS providers. I am a former student athlete. While competing at the collegiate level, I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Prior to beginning my career in the EMS field I was a teacher for two years. I had an amazing time teaching, but my heart was pulling me into this field. I grew up in a first responder household. My father is a retired Police Sergeant and my younger brother is a police officer. I know how difficult it is to be in this field at times and have family in this field. I have a huge passion for helping others but also taking care of our own. I strongly believe many of us in this field prioritize others due to the nature of this profession but we forget to take care of ourselves. I want to start to change that with TOC. We cannot help others if we are not taking care of ourselves. You DO NOT have to do it alone! Let’s grab some coffee and chat!! Remember, One More is One Less.


My name is Justin Krantz. I’m married with two little girls. I’ve been in EMS for over 10 years. I’ve been involved with several incidents through out my career that needed or involved CSIM. I’ve also lost several friends to suicide from PTS, after losing a good friend I’ve made a promise to myself that I will always be there for people who need someone to talk to.


Hi. My name is Holly. I am a death investigator for nearly 20 years in Northern California. I deal with crisis management in grief, post traumatic stress symptoms from gruesome acts of death, and burn out from constant customer service demands in public service. I have had my ups and downs in my career, but still going strong. To learn a little more about me check out episode 18 of The Overwatch Collective podcast. I am available to share my tricks of the trade to you.  


I’ve served in EMS for over 10 years both on the ambulance and more recently as a flight paramedic. I’ve been part of some stressful incidents, and have also found that many coworkers reach out to me as a listening ear when they’re struggling with various calls or just life in general. I’m a Christian, married and have two young children. If you’re going through something, I’d love to help, even if it’s to just listen and pray with you.

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Nina Guerra

Founder & Executive Director, Rustic Ranch


Hello there. We are Kyle and Rene, we have been married just over twelve years and have a heart to share our story in the hopes of encouraging and helping others. 


Kyle started his career in the fire service almost 20 years ago with CAL FIRE, and Is currently a Captain for a department in California. Before transitioning to a stay at home mom, Rene worked in the health and fitness industry as a Crossfit Coach, Personal Trainer, and Health Coach. 


We understand that being a first responder family can be challenging, and mental health can play a big role in that. Over the course of our relationship we have experienced the ups and downs that many families like ours experience, and we are grateful that we were able to weather the storm and have reached a place in our relationship that we never thought imaginable. We hope to encourage, support and come along side couples and families who are struggling in this area.  

My name is Nina Guerra, founder of the Rustic Ranch Equine-Assisted Therapy and Personal Development. I am a Latina native of San Antonio, Texas and Marine Corps Veteran.


During my military career I served as an Intelligence Professional, with several tours to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Throughout this time I have struggled with managing my own mental health. As I began to open up about my own mental health and seek assistance, I quickly noticed how flawed the system is and the stigmas which continue to exist surrounding mental health. 

I am dedicated to taking a unique approach to therapy, personal development, and mentorship, through ranching and equine-assisted learning.

Hi, my name is Matt. I am currently a masters student working to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). I served active duty in the Navy for over 10 years as an aviation mechanic on fighter jets. I am a single father with full custody of two kids. I am a firm believer in the holistic application of therapy and self-healing. I have a very diverse background personally and professionally. With experiences with struggles with mental health from coping and living daily, major depression, suicide, parenting struggles, extreme loneliness, and every day struggles from a personal experience and knowledge and experience with others. I've lost friends to suicide, been there for others through all types of struggles and I want you to know you are not alone. Even for things that are not as severe, you are not alone and it is perfectly okay to reach if you need it. Not necessarily specifically to me but anyone you feel comfortable with. I have a strong passion for helping others and an equally strong passion for psychology. Self-care is something I promote a lot and feel strongly about for everyone. As a future therapist I will be focusing my practice with trauma, PTSD for veterans and first responders, and relationship therapy. I also am part of the 2A community and believe strongly in uniting others for the better good. Please feel free to reach out to me if you believe I am a good fit for you to talk to. You can be rest assured that everything will be kept confidential. I do have to mention, I cannot provide any therapeutic services, but I can be a non-bias and non-judgemental ear to listen and give advice.


Hey everyone! I’m honored to be a part of the Overwatch Collective Family! Yes, FAMILY, because the Public Safety and Military professions are nothing without. It’s all about mindset and resiliency. I’m a SF Bay Area Native and started my career in the fire service starting as an explorer with the San Mateo County Fire Dept in 2008. Officially getting hired a seasonal fireman with the US National Park Service in 2010. Taking a break from the fire service in 2014 briefly and then worked as a law enforcement in a rural Northern California community. Returning to the fire service shortly after I now hold a position of a Fire Engineer/Company Officer with CAL FIRE. I am also veteran of the US Air Force and currently service with the California Air National Guard. 


I’m again blessed to be apart of this community and always believe in the mantra of “We go to hospital for a broken bone, so why not get healed when we have a broken mind” Take care and god bless. 


I have been a firefighter for 20 years. I have also been sober for 31 years. I have dealt with PTSD from on the job and have found ways to help myself through it by reaching out and working with others. I am a father of 4 sons and am married 27 years. I am available 24/7 for a brother or sister in need of help. This is how we recover together.


Hey there! Long time ER Nurse here; for the last 17 years in trauma centers. I have over 30 years in public safety of some sort. I know what it is like to be happy and helpful and hopeful and watch that all fade away over time, through multiple negative exposures. It happened slowly, until hopelessness and absense of joy and victim-story became my "new normal."

I have found a way back to hope and joy and mental strength, and I'm useful again. I would be honored to talk to anyone who resonates with that. I have so many resources, because of my healing journey, and I would be happy to share them, or just listen for now. If you need a friend, call on me brother/sister....don't stay in the dark.


Hey all, my name is Jed. I’ve spent my adult life in some form of service whether federally or locally. I joined the Marine Corps Reserve at the ripe age of 17 and spent 6 years as a radio operator in a tank unit. I took about a 7 year break in my military service before joining the Coast Guard Reserve where I now serve as a Maritime Enforcement Specialist at PSU 313 in Everett, WA.


As for my civilian career, I have been in law enforcement for almost 17 years. I’ve worked in corrections and on patrol at a tribe and two municipalities. I’ve mainly worked at small agencies and have seen things that most civilians don’t but not as much as others in my field.


In some ways I’m a bit old school and grew up not talking about feelings because the stereotype was that you were weak to bear your feelings to anyone, especially as a guy. I was in a peer support debrief where we handled a call that was very similar to one I had handled over a year earlier. I wrestled with images and feelings of failure from the first call because someone had died and I couldn’t save them. It wasn't until this meeting where I talked about that earlier call and finally felt freedom.


Since then, I will talk to anyone who will listen and encourage them to not bottle up emotions.

I was later nominated by my peers to be a peer support officer for my department and later the Coast Guard. I am a huge advocate for these types of resources and encourage anyone going through a hard time to reach out; it’s always easier to go through a hard time when you can share the load with someone else.


Nikole ‘Nikki’ Barnes was born and raised on St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. She started sailing at the age of six with the intention of beating the guys she sailed against. She’s always liked the competitive nature of the sport and has sought to compete at the highest levels available, be it in the Optimist, i420, or 470 classes. In 2011, Nikki placed 3rd at the ISAF Youth Worlds in the i420. Nikki is a 2017 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy. During her time at the Academy, Nikki help lead the women’s sailing team to a National Championship win, while earning the Quantum Women’s Sailor of the Year award, 2017 Sportsman of the Year award, and All-American honors three times. Nikki graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 2017 and was stationed at Sector Miami in the Incident Management Division while working on Response Ashore qualifications. After a year of service, her command allowed her to train full time for the Olympic Games in a Support Allowance Billet. Nikki trained for the Olympics while completing USCG qualifications for three years. Nikki became the first active duty Coast Guardsman to compete at the Olympic Games. After the Olympics, Nikki served as a OU SAR controller in the Command Center at District Seven. Nikki recently separated from the Coast Guard, lives in Miami with her husband, and is actively pursuing the next Olympic Games in sailing. 

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People look to us to come to the rescue when their house is on fire, someone has stolen their possessions, they are badly injured after a traffic accident or any other reason you can imagine. We always do our best to answer the call, which gives us an indescribable sense of purpose and pride. Once our badge has been pinned, we are immediately branded as a hero. It is a true honor to have the trust of the public but with it comes a great burden, one which we often bear in private. The pressure to be perfect under such stressful and chaotic circumstances can get to us. The unfortunate situations we see people in and, despite our best efforts, the often grave consequences they experience wear on us. 

Our jobs don’t define us and at some point we need to "clock out". I know it is difficult, if not impossible, not to take work home with you. We are much more than cops, firefighters, nurses, dispatchers, soldiers and public servants. We are humans and as much as we don’t think we need anyone to take care of us, sometimes we do. To be at our best for those we serve, we must first make sure we are taking care of ourselves. 

My name is Jeff and I am a fourth generation member of public safety. It’s in my blood. I grew up around police work and military deployments but identified more with the fire service. I have risen through the ranks of EMT, Firefighter and Firefighter/Paramedic to my current rank of Captain. I have been with my Southern California department for 8 years and consider it the best job in the world. My wife, Katie, and I live in Long Beach with our dog Nash. I am very proud of my brother Greg and new friend Jesse for making TOC what it is today. I was fortunate enough to be a guest on the podcast twice to tell me story, Season 1 Episode 15 and Season 2 Episode 12. If you are ever in need of someone to talk to about anything, I am here for you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to check in. No concern is too great or too small. You matter. Stay safe.


My name is Jennifer and I am a recently retired law enforcement officer.  After graduating from the Fire Academy and EMT school, I spent the next 10 years of my public safety career at a university PD in San Francisco. I was a Detective, FTO, Patrol Sergeant and Critical Response Unit Squad Leader. I spent the last 16 years as a Deputy Sheriff in a larger agency in the SF Bay Area. I worked in Patrol, Custody, and the Courts.  I was a member of the Sheriff’s Cliff Rescue Unit and Sheriff’s Honor Guard. I spent a lot of my career as the only female on my specialty teams feeling like “sister doin’ it for herself.”  Sisters alone out there, I get it. 


I attended over 40 Law Enforcement funerals, some were people I personally knew. Some died in the line of duty.  Many died by suicide. I hold a lot of survivor’s guilt for lasting an entire career in law enforcement.


I am personally familiar with issues of mental health in one’s family. I have experienced four close family members in mental crisis, one surviving a near attempt at ending their life at the Golden Gate Bridge. 


While enjoying a concert one evening, a stranger died by suicide in front of me rocking my normally “controlled” world. I attended therapy to learn to cope with that trauma, and I still do. No shame. We can learn how to heal. 


In my newly found free time I travel, play ice hockey, go on adventures with my dog, and I sing in choirs. I also have time for coffee, lunch, walking, texting or talking on the phone.  If you’re out there thinking no one knows or cares, I can assure you, I do.  I’m here.  Reach out. 24/7 unless I’m skating or singing, and then the phone is off.  Stop the stigma, it’s ok to talk. And it doesn’t have to be when you’re in crisis. One more is one less.


Hi there! 

My name is Sami and I live on the coast in Half Moon Bay, CA with my partner Sam and my dog Milo. I currently work as a psychotherapist and as an advocate for community members and those who are in need of emotional support. As a biracial and bilingual Latina community member, I have dedicated my work to reducing the stigma of mental health, providing education, and empowering marginalized groups. I am a proud family member and partner to Navy veterans and have lived through the process of navigating the highs and lows of supporting a loved one who lives with PTS. My focus is on trauma-informed and healing centered work with adolescents, couples, and families with experiences such as complex trauma, PTS, anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. Social connection is something I truly value and I feel that it is something, as humans, we all deserve and should experience. I’d love to meet you and connect with you - I am just a phone call, text, or email away! 


Hello! My name is Sam and although I am a New Englander at heart, I have been enjoying life on the coast of California. I am a Navy veteran, served for 8 years, on 2 ships, and deployed 3 times to the Middle East/Persian Gulf. During my time as a Surface Warfare Officer, I held the roles as a Communications Officer, Damage Control Officer, and Training Officer. While active duty, I was consistently exposed to high stress environments and have personally lost a sailor to suicide. 

In the midst of the pandemic I started a small business called Goldsmith Woodworking and have been investing my time and energy into building custom furniture and connecting with folks in the community. 

In my time since separating from the military, I have learned the long lasting effects of ignoring my struggles with trauma and stress. I am someone who lives with PTSD and I am currently receiving long-term treatment. I am learning and growing just like you, and no matter where you are in your journey, I am here to help navigate this process together.

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Hi, my name is Samantha. Right now I am currently an Account Manager for a Facility Management company as well as an Intern for Patrol Base Abbate. I served active duty in the Marine Corps for a little under 8 years as a diesel mechanic on various types of motorized vehicles. I am currently married to my wife Baylee and we are living in Winchester California until we relocate to South Carolina after she gets out of the Marine Corps. I believe in helping veterans and first responders as a mental health advocate very strongly after battling my own struggles with mental health. I believe talking and connecting with like minded people helps bridge the gap between the service member who is transitioning and making it easier to adjust to this new life. 


Hey y’all! My name is Suzzy, my dog Trigger and I currently serve as a therapy team (I also have horses for therapy as well) but Trigg and I are at the VA, different hospitals, seniors struggling with dementia, along with a vast majority of Fire/PD/Park Ranger and Dispatch stations. When we are not doing that I’m currently also a firefighter here in California and then a tracker with my local Sheriffs Department Search and Rescue team! My brothers were Marine and Navy, my cousins are active Marine and Army, my nephew and niece are active Army, uncle was KIA and a marine, grandpa KIA in the Navy, I’ve also had/ have close friends deploy and who unfortunately committed suicide. I’ve seen some of the dark that has flooded people with such bright hearts and bright personalities. I’ve delt with mental illness myself and very physically/mentally abusive relationships I felt like I was alone, felt I had to be stronger and just stay quiet but you are NOT alone in your struggles, your challenges are absolutely not a burden to any of us. I know it can be hard to get out of that mindset but there’s a whole FAMILY here to look out for you. So, let me know if Trigger and I can take you to an appointment, let’s grab coffee! Or go fishing! Let’s take a nice hike out with the pups and enjoy what’s here and now and the incredible nature surrounding us!  

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Jen Lewis. I was born and raised in San Jose,

California. I come from a family of First Responders. I am a Certified Wellness Coach, Certified

Meditation Coach, Reiki Master Practitioner. I have a first hand background understanding of

what it is like a day in the life of a First Responder which led to burnout and course correcting

life change.

I have made it my mission To Help The Helpers. I am passionately assisting others to live with

more balance, harmony, and sense of well-being. I teach and offer tools and techniques on how

to mitigate stress and burnout in healthy productive ways.

My goal is to help you thrive and to be in a place where you know you are valued, supported,

and you are never alone with whatever it is you are carrying on your shoulders. I look forward to

helping you thrive!

I can be reached by phone (408)892-5061 or email


Hello, I am excited to be a part of this program and wholeheartedly agree with everything the overwatch collective is about. I have been in the fire service for the past 8 years. I currently work in the Bay Area as a firefighter/paramedic. When I entered the fire service, I had no idea what peer support or behavioral health was. Two months after being on the job, I experienced a call that changed my life. I experienced my first Critical Incident Stress Debrief (CISD) and began a very long journey that I am still learning to navigate. Five years later, almost to the day, I experienced that same career call that so many said would never happen again. My journey through the fire service has thus far taught me that this career is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to be here for one another, and I want to help in any way possible. I am always available, no matter the time of day. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Hello Overwatch Collective fam! My name is Carlos Rodriguez and I am super excited to have joined the buddy program here at TOC! I work as a 911 Emergency Medical Technician in Alameda county, and have been working as an EMT for over 6 years now. I am also in paramedic school, and I am looking forward to further serve my community.

I have seen first hand the amount of trauma ( physical, emotional, and spiritual) that us first responders endure on a daily basis. We are always there to answer the call but when we need help ourselves….. who’s there to answer our call for help? I intend to be part of the solution and I am open to talk to anyone who may be in need of a listening ear.

I am a man of faith, and I would be more than happy to pray with you or even just have a conversation. Please know that you are not alone, your feelings are valid, and that you do not deserve to endure life alone. Let’s connect and do life together!

Hi there!  My name is Tony Maffei.  I have spent 30 plus years in the Fire Service working in all ranks from FF/Paramedic to Battalion Chief.  Prior to joining the Fire Service, I was a paramedic for a private ambulance company.  


I am married with two grown boys; one of which serves as a Lt. In the Navy.   My hobbies include but aren’t limited to: waterfowling; fishing; biking; cars and collecting wooden duck decoys.  I also enjoy working on my home and keep busy with projects.


While I wouldn’t trade the career I have had for any other, I understand the toll it can take on an individual and their family.  I have lost several friends to job related illness and am myself a job incurred cancer survivor.  I am honored to be included with The Overwatch Collective because after taking care of the general public for 3 plus decades, I want to now start focusing on helping ‘our own’.   None of us are in it alone.  Feel free to reach out at any time; and if not me, please someone else in this group!  Stay well; stay safe!!

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Hi, my name is Jim and after serving in the Army, I worked as a firefighter and now a paramedic in Genesee County, Michigan for over 18 years. I work additionally to provide support and encouragement to both veterans and the first responder industry through weekly house church in my home, and on the podcast I started; The Lighthouse Experiment Podcast. I also serve the Grand Blanc Fire Department as their Chaplain. My lovely bride Kari and I have four children plus two adult daughters. I knew from a young age that I was made for this industry, but now I know I've also been called to serve it by helping others free hope in their lives. I have seen too many people in EMS struggle, burn out, or end their lives because the stress of work and life became too much. The world is better with YOU in it. I am passionate about mental health and providing support to others in this amazing community. No matter where you're at, please reach out to me. There's nothing I'm afraid of talking about as we all navigate this journey together. 


Hello everyone,

My name is Donna and I am very honored to be part of The Overwatch Collective family.  I'm the mom of two adult kids, was a police and fire dispatcher for 22 years and was married to a CHP officer. My husband took his own life 16 1/2 years ago and I have been working on finding "my new normal" ever since.  It's been a road of ups and downs, but I have great support from family and friends and that has made such a difference.  I was not a First Responder, but I was a First Reactor, the first person to react to the panic, crying, screaming, desperation, confusion on the other end of the phone.  I'm a Survivor of Suicide, having lost my husband to suicide.  I'm a mom, who in the blink of an eye, became a single parent and had to figure out how to navigate that world. I don't have all the answers, but I am making it work.  Some of my favorite things to do, to take a break from my reality are travel (I want to see everything and I'm making a dent), baseball - GO GIANTS and quilting.  I make quilts and donate them to where needed, including other survivors.  It helps me to have hobbies that are good distractions.  I'm a good listener and can be a shoulder to lean on, when needed.


Hello! My name is Lacey. I grew up in law enforcement. My dad has been in law enforcement for over 30 years. His career has always been a family affair. I spent most of my childhood in a patrol car or hanging out at the police department. I got to experience having my dad in many different roles including SWAT leader, Investigations, Narcotics, Range Master and Community Services.

 I had always appreciated the family dynamic in the first responder world but I didn't fully understand it until I was older. When I was around 18, I experienced a very traumatic time in my life. The amount of support I received from the first responder family was indescribable, you have to experience it to fully understand. Having that support while dealing with PTSD, depression and anxiety has made such a difference for me and I feel it's time to return the favor and make it my mission to support the first responder community.


I'm currently finishing my degree in social and behavioral science. My dog Ash and I are also in the process of becoming a first responder therapy dog team. Don't ever think you're alone! Whether you need a hand or a paw, Ash and I are here for you.

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My name is Paul and I’m a medically-retired California cop; part of my story involves post-traumatic stress (PTS), cancer, and suicidal ideation. The last 10 years of my police career were quite violent. I’ve killed 3 men in the line of duty; in 1999 I was involved in my 5th and last officer-involved shooting (OIS).

The last day I worked as a cop started off as a lovely, warm June morning. I was working by myself in a rural beat car. Other deputies and I were dispatched to a call involving a 44 year-old man, high on drugs, who was reportedly armed with a pipe bomb and threatening to detonate it. It turned out the man (his name was Peter) had been up for 4 days; he was high on methamphetamine and had barricaded himself in a small shop-like space located between the main house and the garage. This all occurred in a densely-populated, rural residential neighborhood. The logistical and tactical circumstances ended up being a nightmare.

To make a long story short, we set up a perimeter, evacuated the area and requested additional help. I ended up personally negotiating with Peter for about 20 minutes. He was delusional, paranoid and frequently brandished his cannon-fused pipe bomb and a lighter, threatening to detonate it if we didn’t go away. I ultimately shot him when he began to carry out his threat. He later died.

All of my OIS’s occurred while I was in uniform. Memories of those lethal confrontations, their legal aftermaths, and the grueling experience of being the focus of three separate officer-involved homicides was unpleasant. I’ve been called trigger-happy and my shootings were disparaged by a few former coworkers; I know what that feels like. I had to learn that such is frequently driven by their own performance insecurities or inexperience, but at the time, I took that stuff pretty hard. I’ve also been treated wonderfully by many of the cops I worked with, the communities I served, the investigators assigned to my shootings, and by the local media.

I relished being a cop and for years after my retirement, I really struggled. I missed cop work and felt lost, adrift, and without purpose. Suicidal ideation became an issue and I ultimately developed cancer in my abdomen (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, stage 3). That turned out to be a wake up call and a real life-changing gift, actually. I gradually quit feeling sorry for myself, found new ways to help others, and over the years my PTS symptoms have become way more manageable.

For the record, I began police work in 1974. In 1987, I lateral-transferred into the large Central Valley sheriff’s department which I later retired from. Throughout my whole career I declined to seek promotion, and instead, worked primarily between patrol and investigations. I also had the advantage of varied assignments in SWAT, FTO, and an Underwater Recovery Unit. Throughout my career I was lucky to work alongside many courageous and talented men and women at a number of different agencies.

Today I live a pretty happy, fulfilling life. I found my way into recovery and a few months ago, I celebrated 20 years of continuous sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m a father, grandfather and husband. I’m actually married to a wonderful oncology nurse who I met during my chemo treatments; we live in San Francisco.

Over the years I’ve talked with a number of cops and ex-cops about their own work-related calamities. Professionals often say that a problem shared is a problem halved, and that’s been absolutely the case for me. I’ve discovered that others have had it way worse than me, and that survival has been a precious gift.

If you’d like to meet up someplace and talk, I’ll happily make myself available.

Hi everyone, I’m Em! The last 12 years I have proudly stood by my spouse's side, embracing the unique challenges and rewards that come with military life.


As a devoted wife and mother, I find tremendous joy in raising our four beautiful daughters. They inspire me to be the best version of myself and serve as a constant reminder of the importance of creating a nurturing and supportive environment.


One of my passions lies in advocating for self-care and motivating others to prioritize their well-being. I believe that by taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally, we become better equipped to handle the demands of military life and find fulfillment in our own unique journeys. I understand the ups and downs, the uncertainties and triumphs that the military lifestyle brings.


I am here as a reliable source of guidance and support for anyone in need of advice or assistance. Whether it's navigating through deployments, managing household responsibilities, or finding balance amidst the constant change, I'm dedicated to offering practical insights and a compassionate ear.

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