August 27, 2021
Two groups of people are especially dear to our hearts: veterans and firefighters.
So we are enormously pleased this month to announce that the Fire Department Coffee Foundation is donating $3,000 to benefit the Illinois Fire Service Institute, which in October is hosting special training dedicated to helping veterans transition and thrive in the fire service.
It’s no secret that our CEO and founder, Luke Schneider, is a U.S. Navy veteran. He enlisted in the Navy with the specific goal of gaining firefighting skills that would serve him well in his ultimate goal of being a professional firefighter in civilian life.
The deep similarities between life in the military and in the fire service — long shifts, high stakes — lead many veterans to make this natural transition.
In October, IFSI will host its “Veterans in the Fire Service Day,” offering no-cost professional and personal development to American military veterans. The training is available on two distinct tracks. One is focused on current members of the fire service while the other is targeted toward aspiring firefighters.
IFSI instructors, most of whom are veterans, will be leading the training. For current firefighters, the event offers hands-on, live fire training. For aspiring firefighters, it also offers discussions of potential career paths within the industry.
And all participants will have the opportunity to participate in discussions about resiliency awareness as well as to connect with fellow veterans and share their experiences.
This is a big reason why the Fire Department Coffee Foundation felt compelled to donate to support IFSI, because resiliency and the focus on mental health form yet another connecting thread between veterans and firefighters.
Each profession comes with the potential for traumatic experiences that can leave an imprint on minds, bodies and souls. We know that the power to overcome trauma begins with acknowledging it and being open to seeing its effects in ourselves and others. By creating an open forum, we create a path to understanding it, managing it and, hopefully, overcoming it.
It may be as important as any tactical field training that firefighters and veterans will ever do. It can’t be overlooked.
The Illinois Fire Service Institute is an incredible resource for firefighters — veterans or not — in Illinois and, truly, around the world. We are so grateful for all that they do, and it’s an honor to contribute to their vital and important mission.
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