The Things We All Carry

The Things We All Carry

Your trauma is unique but your story is universal. The more we share our stories the more people we help. We all carry something into every call. An airpack, the irons, a hook, a hose line, an aid bag, a radio… name it. Each tool is useful and has its’ purpose. It’s what we all carry out of the call I’m concerned about. For the longest time we have shrugged off our traumas….”I just did my job”. The time has come to treat these experiences for what they truly are...


September 20, 2023 151 mins

David is a retired firefighter medic from the Pacific Northwest. He spent 28 years on the job between volunteer time and career. His story is one filled with trauma on the job to include numerous pediatric codes and death. Those traumas led him to anger, to drinking, to rehab, and eventually to recovery.

Today David is retired and he's retrained as a welder. He makes his recovery the priority in his life knowing without sobriety, n...

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Tom Mitchell is a hero. I don't throw that title around often or easily, but in this case, it's the truth. Better known as Tattoo Tom, Tom is a self-described and appropriately anointed aggressive and unapologetic activist for children with cancer and their families. 

From a personal tragedy was born a dogged determination to do basically anything and everything for these kids and their families. From becoming a boxer at the age of...

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September 6, 2023 77 mins

Gandhi said that the "best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." Jess Rambo is a creative force behind the Painted Buffalo. She's a Marine Corps veteran who has taken her artistic skill and passion and applied it to the veterans community. Her love of art and love for veterans meets in the middle to create opportunities for vets to tell their stories. It doesn't matter if the story is ever heard by any...

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August 30, 2023 94 mins

 Dostoevsky wrote

"You will burn and you will burn out. You'll be healed and come back again."

Those words resonate with me. In some manner, small or large, we burn every day. Day-to-day life alone burns us and then we add traumas, work schedules, irregular sleep, poor diet, and numerous other stressors. I'm not sure if burnout is inevitable but in the first responder world, it's hardly rare. 

The second part of that message is vit...

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August 24, 2023 55 mins

Destiny Morris is a licensed marriage and family therapist from California. Her practice centers around first responders, spouses, and relationships. She is certified as a first responder counselor as well as being trained in the practice of EMDR and trauma informed. She works with individuals, couples and holds first responder partner groups.

In this conversation, we discussed the idea of hyper-vigilance and how it affects relatio...

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August 23, 2023 93 mins

Welcome to Episode 78 of The Things We All Carry. 

Macklemore said.....

"Music is therapy. Music moves people. It connects people in ways that no other medium can. It pulls heartstrings. It acts as medicine."

Sarah Thrash is a Texan, a daughter, a sister, a fighter, and a survivor. Music is a passion and a therapy of sorts for her, whether playing piano, listening to music as the sun sets, or sharing suggestions with strangers on I...

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August 16, 2023 88 mins

Ryan is a firefighter in Washington, DC. His experiences with work and life demonstrate a need for a global approach to mental health. We can't only worry about the calls we need to be in tune with all aspects of life for a firefighter. Knowing what trials and tribulations a firefighter's living through and dealing with allows us as peers and leaders to better serve our people. 

Ryan dealt with cancer and death in an up close and p...

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August 9, 2023 88 mins

"My purpose in life is to alleviate suffering."

That's the mission statement of this week's guest. Deana, also known as CopShrink on Instagram, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of California. Her focus is working with cops, firefighters and the spouses of both. In addition she responds to large-scale or significant incidents requiring CISM. 

In other words...she sees the first responder on their worst day. 


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August 2, 2023 78 mins

Mike is a 15 year career firefighter and has 17 years as a paramedic. He started his career at a young age as a volunteer. He's also a husband and a father of two young children. 

I was scrolling through Facebook one day when I happened upon a post from a firefighter in Central Virginia. He was asking for donations to raise money for the Center of Excellence. He wasn't simply asking for money though, he was asking for sponsorship f...

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July 27, 2023 57 mins

Some of y'all might recognize this week's guest from Episode 52, as I welcome back Brad from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Brad is a third generation firefighter with 22 years of service. He first started as a volunteer and is now approaching 18 years with his career department. Brad reached out to my request for impromptu interviews and it intrigued me since I'd already heard his life story in a previous episode we recorded. It t...

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July 26, 2023 87 mins

This week offer up my conversation with Andy Pantelis. Andy is the District Four vice-president for the IAFF. For those of you who are non-fire related listeners the IAFF is the international association of firefighters. Andy he was elected to his position in 2016 and he represented the local affiliates at Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and DC. 

Andy is also the president of Local 1619 Prince George's co...

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July 19, 2023 144 mins

Ricky Nuttall is a London firefighter with one hell of a story. On June 14th, 2017, he was dispatched to a structure fire during the early morning hours. That fire turned out to be the deadliest fire in London since world war II. He joined over 250 other first responders to battle the blaze, a devastating blaze at Grenfell tower. Grenfell claimed the lives of 72 residents and injured over 70 more. 

Ricky shares his insights and his...

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July 12, 2023 66 mins

Welcome to Episode 71 of The Things We All Carry.

It's been a couple months since I put out a call for people interested in doing an impromptu interview.This is another in that series of pop-up interviews.

Ryan is a captain with SacMetro in California. He responded to my message and waited patiently as our schedule seemed to never align. Luckily we were able to sit down and record recently. Ryan shares his own story of trauma and r...

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July 5, 2023 75 mins

One of the disturbing topics that Robbie and I discuss in this episode is how the insurance company is able to both deny his diagnosis of ptsd and then deny his application for life insurance based upon his diagnosis of P. T. S. D.

You know that diagnosis..... they denied he had in the first place?

This is but one example of how corporations treat individuals and are free to do as they please. Robbie's story should be alarming to a...

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June 28, 2023 82 mins

Maya Angelou wrote in "Letter to My Daughter".


"I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it."

No person sums this up better than Kathy Crosby-Bell in 2014, Kathy experienced a tragedy that no mother should be exposed to. Her son, Michael Kennedy was killed in the line of duty. Michael a Boston firefighter was riding engine 33 on March 26th, 2014. He and Lieutenant ed Walsh were first due to a wind-dri...

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June 21, 2023 62 mins

I had the pleasure of speaking to Megan Lautz this week. Megan is a registered dietician and personal trainer. She works for Fairfax county here in Virginia and has her own personal practice as well. She's better known as  @rescue_RD on social media. 

 Megan has made it her ambition to help first responders with nutrition and the rigors of work in these jobs and shifts. According to her bio and her website.

"First responders face u...

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June 14, 2023 78 mins

Kim is a paramedic out of Minnesota with 10 years of experience. She started training for and qualifying as an EMT during high school and as soon as she was old enough, she began her career on the ambulance. She has seen more than her fair share of traumas, injuries and illnesses. And she has a distinct pleasure of being called a true black cloud. 

Unfortunately, Kim also experienced the horrors of an accident while driving the amb...

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June 7, 2023 56 mins

Welcome to Episode 66 of The Things We All Carry. This is the second in a series of impromptu pop-up style interviews that I conducted a few weeks ago.  Chris and Dan joined me for a conversation from their firehouse in DC. 

32 Engine is based in Southeast DC. And Chris is the wagon driver. Dan is a Lieutenant as well as being a member of his department's peer support team. Dana and I have interacted off and on via social media for...

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May 31, 2023 66 mins

Chris Torres is a firefighter with FDNY owner of IGY6 Fitness out of New York. He's also a peer support counselor for Next Rung, as well as Vice President and board member of Next Rung. Chris was generous enough to spend about 90 minutes of his valuable time talking to me and sharing his story. 

He was born and raised in New York city. He also played collegiate baseball in New York city. And then he found his way to the fire depart...

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May 24, 2023 62 mins

Welcome to episode 64 of The Things We All Carry. I was doing some work for the show a couple of weeks ago, when an idea came to me. I had read about a pop-up farmer's market and thought the idea could be applied to an interview. Instead of planning out a show by speaking to and interview a guest prior to recording, why not do an impromptu pop-up style interview. Go into an interview, not knowing what's going to be said, not prepar...

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