News & Events

Common Myths of Suicide in the Wildland Community; by Lisa Johnson, LCPC

Tragically, tens of thousands of Americans lose their lives to suicide every year, the statistics are alarming. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. More young adults aged 15-24 die by suicide than anything else with the exception of accidents. Every single day, the lives of 18 to 22 veterans are lost.  These numbers are startling, but there is hope, with education and outreach and especially a reduction in stigma, that barrier that prevents wildland firefighters for asking for help, these statistics can change.

This time of year, between spring and early summer is the time when we have the highest number of attempted suicides and completed suicides across America.  We don’t know why that is, there are several theories, one being that people are often faced with many challenges around the holidays and are able to muster through them with the expectation that things will get better in the Spring.  When life does not improve, people can lose hope. People who are suicidal are in so much pain, they can see no other option.  Suicide is often a taboo subject, people are uncomfortable discussing it and that leads to mistaken beliefs and myths surrounding suicide. Below are posted common myths about suicide

Myth: asking a wildland firefighter about his or her intention will encourage suicide or get the person to act on their intention.  The reality is that people report a huge relief when others have asked them in a caring and direct manner about how they are feeling and what their intentions are.  One of the reasons for completed suicides is that people feel isolated. Reaching out and showing you care is connecting.

Myth: wildland firefighters who talk about suicide won’t really take their life.  Almost every person who takes their life gives some warning sign, either verbal or nonverbal.  Saying things like, “you’ll miss me,” giving away possessions are indications that a wildland firefighter is serious about taking his/her life.  Pay attention to the warning signs of suicide.

Myth: If a wildland firefighter has made the decision to end their life, nothing can stop them. This is untrue, most suicidal people feel very conflicted between wanting to end the pain and wanting to live. This is where we can offer hope.

Myth: Wildland firefighters who die by completing suicide were unwilling to get help. More than 50% of people who take their lives had been to a doctor or other medical professional in the last six months of their lives. There is always possibility to intervene to save a life.

Myth: Wildland firefighters who take their lives are “crazy or weak.”  We know that most people who complete suicide are not insane or psychotic, most are suffering from depression, grief-stricken, or suffering from the sights, sounds, smells of traumatic events and are experiencing extreme emotional and/or physical pain.  Oftentimes, the suicidal person has been hanging on so long, they are exhausted emotionally.  It is a sign of strength to seek help.

Myth: There is no link between alcohol abuse, drug abuse and suicide. People who attempt and complete suicide are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Alcohol and drugs can lower a person’s inhibitions and increase their impulsivity.

As we increase our understanding of suicide, we increase the chances that we can help and offer hope. Suicide prevention, saving lives, starts with everyday interactions of compassion with the wildland firefighters we know and love.

 

 

Supporting Our Firefighters Concert

Supporting Our Firefighters Concert happens on

September 18th, 2015

at 6:00 p.m.

Grain Station Brew Works, Northeast Alpine Avenue, McMinnville, OR, United States

Get Directions

Schweitzer Run

Schweitzer Run happens on

April 25th, 2015

Get Directions

Schweitzer Challenge 2

Prineville Hotshot Memorial Run

Prineville Hotshot Memorial Run happens on

May 2nd, 2015

Get Directions

Prineville IHC2 Prineville IHC

Sporting Clay Shoot

Sporting Clay Shoot happens on

April 24th, 2015

Bakersfield, CA, United States

Get Directions

Sporting-clay-shoot-2015-newSporting-clay-signup-2015-final

Wasatch Showdown 2015

Wasatch Showdown 2015 happens on

March 14th, 2015

at 8:00 a.m.

Brighton Ski Resort, South Brighton Loop Road, Brighton, UT, United States

Get Directions

2015-Flier

Mcclellan Sacramento Fundraiser

Mcclellan Sacramento Fundraiser happens on

April 22nd, 2015

at 5:30 p.m.

Lions Gate Hotel & Conference Center, Westover Street, McClellan, Sacramento County, CA, United States

Get Directions

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 3.07.09 PM[checkout_product id=”65″]

Minnesota-Fire on Ice

Minnesota-Fire on Ice happens on

January 17th, 2015

at 7:00

Get Directions

Coors Banquet Teams With Wildland Firefighter Foundation To “Protect Our West”

Coors Banquet Teams With Wildland Firefighter Foundation To “Protect Our West” Regional Partnership Delivers 25 Cents Per Case Sold in July and August to WFF PR Newswire CHICAGO, June 30, 2014 CHICAGO, June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –For more than 140 years, Coors Banquet has celebrated its special Western heritage and appreciation for the kind of old-fashioned values that never go out of style. This summer, the Banquet Beer is extending its support to a group of people who exemplify these traits. Through the Coors Banquet “Protect Our West” program, the brand will contribute 25 cents to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation for every case sold in select states in the Western region throughout July and August, up to $250,000. The non-profit Wildland Firefighter Foundation assists firefighters and the families of firefighters injured or killed while battling grass and forest fires throughout the region. The 25-cents-per-case donation applies to cases of Coors Banquet sold in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. “At Coors, we know the natural beauty of the west is something special, something to be admired and respected,” said Pete Coors, chairman of the board of MillerCoors and great-grandson of Coors Brewing Company founder Adolph Coors. “The Wildland Firefighter Foundation supports the modern heroes of the west, the men and women who risk their lives to ‘protect our west.’ I couldn’t be more proud to have Coors Banquet doing its part to help these amazing people and their families.” Coors Banquet will drive awareness of the “Protect Our West” program through radio, print and out-of-home advertising; digital and social media; public relations; and retail point-of-sale materials. Additional details can be found at Coors Banquet displays at participating retailers. Founded in 1994 after the Storm King tragedy in Colorado that took the lives of 14 wildland firefighters, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation provides emergency support to the families of firefighters who have been killed or seriously injured in the line of duty. “The Wildland Firefighter Foundation and the entire wildland firefighting community would like to thank Coors Banquet for recognizing the sacrifices these men and women make every time they battle our nation’s wildland fires,” said Burk Minor of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Using only Rocky Mountain water and high-country barley, Coors Banquet is brewed exclusively in Golden, Colo. About Coors Brewing Company Coors Brewing Company was founded in 1873 by Adolph Coors, who chose the Clear Creek Valley in Golden, Colo., for his new brewery because of the pure water in the nearby Rocky Mountain springs. The brewery’s original and most enduring beer is Coors Banquet (Coors.com, Facebook.com/CoorsBanquet), still brewed exclusively in Golden using only Rocky Mountain water and high-country barley. Coors Light (CoorsLight.com, Facebook.com/CoorsLight, @CoorsLight on Twitter) was introduced in 1978 and now is the second-best-selling beer in the United States. Triple-filtered smooth Keystone Light (KeystoneLight.com, Facebook.com/KeystoneLight) is one the country’s most popular economy beers. Coors Brewing Company operates in the United States and Puerto Rico as part of MillerCoors, a joint venture of SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Company. Learn more at MillerCoors.com, at Facebook.com/MillerCoors or on Twitter through @MillerCoors. SOURCE Coors Brewing Company Contact: Scott Bussen, MillerCoors, 312.496.2969, scott.bussen@millercoors.com, or Kevin Thiel, Olson PR, 312.577.1754, kthiel@olson.com

Caring Award Congratulations Letter to Vicki

Vicki received this letter from her friend, and former Board member, Ray Quintanar, retired Director of Fire and Aviation for the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service.

Congratulations on well deserved recognition. Some years ago when you saw, sadness and darkness for so many who had lost so much, you stepped out of a comfortable role to help them. By your actions you gave them light, you gave them hope. Your commitment to make a difference where you can is unheralded and is done with passion and humility. It is done in the background of CNN flashing headlines, of finger pointing and blame in a melee of anger, loss, and of pending repercussions. It is done quietly with focus on the families who cannot comprehend, speak, or accept the loss of one of their own.

That you even are considered much less chosen to receive recognition, may seem to you, confusing when your focus is on the survivors who often are afraid and not accepting of their loss.  You are the bridge that gives order and meaning during this time of no words of no feeling of no end. You give them courage. You give them “hope!”

You have earned your place among the legends and giants of the Fire Service as one of its finest leaders. You have and continue to give us all hope, something found in only a few, who are truly extraordinary leaders!

From me to you, thank you for your continued incredible and successful work!!

As Always, your friend,

Ray Quintanar

 

Two Miracles in Boise

Dave Rama, father to fallen firefighter, Daniel Rama, is quite the writer and has blessed us with this very special retelling of his experience in Boise at Family Fire 2007.  Please read the attached letter, Two Miracles in Boise.

 

Vicki Minor Receives Mother Teresa Caring Award

Vicki-Caring_AwardOn  October 5th, Vicki Minor was inducted into the Caring InstituteHall of Fame.  Vicki was honored along with Lance Armstrong, Founder,Lance Armstrong Foundation; Cathy Brown, Founder and Executive Director of Rainbow Days; Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg, Founders,St. Bernard Project; Kevin Shannon, M.D., Pediatric Cardiologist and Founder, Camp de Corazon; and Peter H. Thomas, Founder and Chairman, LifePilot.  Five youth were also honored.  The award ceremony program can be downloaded below.  (This article was the result of a 2 hour interview with Vicki that was edited for use in the program.)

This links to a letter from Ray Quintanar, retired Director of Fire and Aviation Management for the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service to Vicki.