In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Christy and Robyn talk with retired police officer and 1st Responder Conferences founder Shawn Thomas and her husband Jeff Thomas on what inspired her to form her company.
I Don’t Care What People Think
Jeff grew up in the culture where drinking is what you do as years on the job begin to mentally take their toll. Over time, he realizes that his drinking is likely being perpetuated by department culture and internal decision making. Jeff knew he couldn’t continue down the path of self-medication and destruction. Searching for help he quickly realized he had no idea where to turn.
1st Responder Conferences is Born
Shawn started 1st Responder Conferences while simultaneously working full-time at the Sheriff’s department. This experience really allowed her to understand the varying struggles that families face. 1st Responder Conferences is unique in that it brings together health and wellness training for everyday heroes. It’s a place where first responders and their families can be in one room for two training days. There are no ‘breakout sessions’ where groups are pulled apart. Everyone hears the same message, same questions and are able to connect through common experience. Their first conference had 150 in attendance which told Shawn that the need was definitely there. Since then, there have been 30 more across the country.
Shawn met Karen and discovered the mission of Blue H.E.L.P., which is now under the umbrella of First H.E.L.P.. First H.E.L.P partners with 1st Responder Conferences to provide speakers, booths, etc. Shawn has become a part of the First H.E.L.P. by bringing her expertise to assist as a volunteer for our family programs.