My name is Shane Armstrong, and I have been employed with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue since 2004. I understand the difficulties of the job and home life. I have worked hard to gain knowledge to add to my life experience. I have an AA in psychology and certified in Christian counseling through Liberty University. I am also involved in a lay counseling ministry through my church, along with a homeless outreach. I have been through an alcohol recovery program and no longer drink. There is a brotherhood bigger than the department and people that truly care. It does not profit a man to gain the world and loose his soul.
Joel Brier began his journey as a career firefighter in 1983 in a Fire Department in West Palm Beach; this department and nine others consolidated to form Palm Beach County Fire Rescue in 1984. In mid 1985, he ran and was elected to the position of District Vice President for the Professional Firefighters/Paramedics of Palm Beach County, IAFF Local 2928. This organization represents the employees of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and several municipalities, including its First Responders, Dispatchers and support staff.
Jason Cohen has been a Firefighter with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue for over 17 years. He is an active member of the Palm Beach County Critical Incident Stress Management Team, the Facilities Unit Leader on the Palm Beach County All Hazards Incident Management Team and also a firefighter for EVP, the Emergency Volunteers Project. Jason came up the ranks starting as a Firefighter Paramedic, promoting to Driver Operator and now Captain Truck 35 A Shift. He has been married for 22 years and is father to 3 young men ages 14, 16 and 20. Like all emergency responders, Jason has been on many emergency calls and knows first hand the types of stress we can be exposed to. He would like to give back by being available to our Brothers and Sisters in need of peer support or to help guide or provide information on how to seek and receive further assistance from the mental health community.
I am 39 years old single parent of two kids. My son is 11 and my daughter is 9. I spent four years with PBCFR Explorer post thru high school and joined to the volunteers for one year after that. I spent time as a volunteer firefighter with the village of Tequesta. After completing Fire Academy and E.M.T. school I worked for two years as a firefighter on the Autec Project Andros Island Bahamas. I was assigned to the ARFF side for my first year and my second year drove the engine. I got hired with the City of Pahokee October of 1999 as the fourth person on shift, where I remained until we were absorbed by Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. I am currently assigned as a Captain on the floating squad B shift. I live in Okeechobee County where I have been a member of the Auxiliary unit with the Sheriff’s office. I am interested in the opportunity to participate in this peer support program for many reasons. The main and most important point is this: We need to take care of our Brothers and Sisters first in order to make us prepared to serve the community we work in. I have had many of my peers and mentors invest time in me thru out my career and I would be honored to help someone in a time of need.
Lawrence Doelling has worked for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue since 1991. He worked at Station 31 for 10 years when it was a Special Operation Station. He attained the rank of Captain in 2002. The bulk of his career has been spent in Battalion 3 where he has been involved in a wide variety of situations and calls. He is currently the Coordinator for the Palm Beach County Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team. Lawrence has a total of 11 years service in the military through the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force Reserves.
He is originally from Illinois and came to Florida after graduation from Southern Illinois University in 1983. Lawrence and his wife were married in a ceremony at Station 31 in 1993. They have one daughter and two dogs.
Joseph Escuage IV is a lieutenant with PBCFR where he has worked for 9 years. He is a second generation Firefighter and grew up in both the F.D and Church culture .He has spent several years in the church mentoring youth through difficult circumstances. As a relatively younger fire officer he can relate to the difficulties that can plague a younger firefighter. His goal is for this generation of firefighters is to have a cultural change where it ok to talk about stuff that bothers you before a situation escalates to something that requires professional help.
Greg Ferguson is a Captain with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue where he has worked since 2001. He was a volunteer firefighter with the City of Parkland for 10 years prior to being hired with PBCFR. With over 25 years of fire service experience, the health and wellness of our brothers and sisters has become a priority. He has been happily married for over 15 years and is raising two young boys. He understands the stress involved with being a firefighter and the strain it can put on our brothers and sisters and their families. With recent tragedies in our department, he would like to help others avoid unneeded suffering and assist with remaining healthy
Russell Frank has been in the fire service since 1993. He was a volunteer firefighter for the city of Plantation for over 20 years and is currently a Captain with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. He has been a volunteer Chaplain with the County since 2011. He has been divorced after a 12 year marriage and is currently happily remarried since 2002 with 2 boys. He is a biblically based person - He likes that the Chaplaincy is open to helping all faiths and that it is not required to know chapters and verse. As a member of United Marriage.org Encounters he knows that the incidents and trauma that firefighters face daily don’t only affect them – but their families too.
Jeremy Hurd is an EMS Captain with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue where he has worked for over 12 years. He has also volunteered for 8 years as the department chaplain. He is a member of the advisory board for the Florian Program – the only substance abuse and suicide prevention organization that focuses solely on firefighters. He is part of the Palm Beach County Critical Incident Stress Management team, the Palm Beach County Type III All Hazards Incident Management Team, and he is on the board for the Hospice of Palm Beach County Foundation. He is married and has four children between the ages of 17 and 21. His experience as a former high school teacher, an employee of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the American Cancer Society, and now a firefighter and chaplain have given him a passion to take care of people who take care of others. Our firefighters need help as they process through the incidents they face, and his passion is to ensure that they get that help.
Ric Jorge has been a fireman for PBCFR for the past 23 years, an Instructor for 15 of those years, and sober 29 consecutive years. He is a published author on resiliency, and was part of a clinical team that worked with firemen that have PTSD at The Station House treatment center for 16 months. Ric currently lectures across the country on Resiliency/PTSD. He is married twice and the father of 6 children. Ric has several decades of experience in helping people with drug, alcohol, and PTSD difficulties, and is excited to be a part of a PEER support group that is supported by our local and our department. We all need a hand up sooner or later, your safety, and confidentiality are Ric's highest priority
Fred Manriquez (Wellington, Fl) has been a FF/PM with PBCFR for 11 years, 10 of which have been at Station 23. Currently Fred works at station 36 on "A" shift. Fred holds two bachelors degrees , one in education and the second in psychology. Prior to beginning his work with PBCFR, Fred worked as a teacher for 7 years in Hawaii , NY and Florida. During those years Fred specialized in working with children who had behavioral and emotional problems. While in Hawaii, Fred implemented the first ever behavioral therapy program to be used in classrooms, which is still used to this day. Fred served as a crisis intervention administrator in NY as well as a behavioral counselor. Fred is married to his wife Jessica and has 3 children, Mason 14, Maile 8 and Maddox 7. While staying active in the community coaching youth baseball for 16 years, he also finds time to assist in PBCFR's hurricane command staff for Batt 3. Fred is also an active member of life church in Wellington.
Mike Peper is a Captain with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue where he has worked for over 19 years. His time on the job has been spent at station 91 located in downtown Lake Worth. The call volume and nature of incidents in his response area has given him a heightened awareness of the importance of being mentally healthy. Over the years Mike has always looked out for his brothers and sisters and is excited to be a part of the Peer Support Group.
The images in this site are from www.dansunphotos.com. His work is amazing and captures the torment many in our field feel. Copies of his art can be purchased through his site.
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