Showing posts with label Lakeland FL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lakeland FL. Show all posts

Monday, January 21, 2019

Lakeland Fire Department PTSD Peer Support

Lakeland Fire Department rolls out Peer Support training


The Ledger
By Kathy Leigh Berkowitz
Posted Jan 20, 2019
The program was created to combat depression, suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder faced by first responders.
LAKELAND — Deaths of first responders to suicide, increased depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other symptoms of mental health trauma have led some fire department leaders to change the way they want to see their peers cope with the often stressful and heartbreaking job.

“Tradition is you just suck it up and go about your day, and just let it go,” Lakeland Fire Department Lt. Phil Green said Tuesday as the agency rolled out training for peer support last week. Firefighters fight the macho mentality, the pressure of presenting as invincible, Green said. 

“There is a fear of saying, ‘I am not OK’,” he said, but “we are human just like everybody else.” 

Green, 36, was one of those peers chosen to take the training in an effort to be a sounding board for fellow firefighters. At 14 years in fire services, he said now that the awareness is there, he hopes people speak up when they need to talk.

First responders face all kinds of trauma on a daily basis.

“Vehicle accidents, all different ages. People hang themselves, shoot themselves. Some are burned to death. I have seen children die. ... I have actually stepped in brain matter on scene. I have placed bodies in body bags,” he said.

One day Green said he answered a very bad call involving a child. As a father of a 4-year-old girl, Green said the call had “gotten to” him.

He met with a few other firefighters. “We said, let’s go get some coffee.”

An anonymous survey was distributed throughout the department, asking firefighters to write down the name or names of people they would turn to if they needed help coping with something. Those whose names popped up numerous times were gathered and brought to the training as the first peers to be certified under the program.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Lakeland Fire Department taking on PTSD head on!

Lakeland Fire Department addressing post-traumatic stress in firefighters


FOX 13 News
Ken Suarez
January 14, 2019
Until recently, firefighters were expect to work out their problems on their own and not share them. The result can be post-traumatic stress, or in more severe cases, post-traumatic stress disorder.

LAKELAND, Fla. (FOX 13) - If you think you’re stressed at work, imagine being a firefighter. They deal with people during the lowest points of their lives, while their house is burning, or just moments after a terrible, possibly fatal car crash.

What’s worse, according to Assistant Chief Rick Hertzog of the Lakeland Fire Department, it is difficult for firefighters to move on after experiencing an especially traumatic situation.
“We pass by these locations where we run these calls over and over again,” he told FOX 13, noting the stress “continues to build up inside of us until sometimes we are just unable to cope.”

Traditionally, if firefighters confided that they were having a hard time emotionally, they would have been told to just deal with it and move on.

“That's how they handled it, they buried those feelings down,” said Tom Howard, a trainer from Illinois Firefighter Peer Support.
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Monday, August 6, 2018

Veteran of 3 wars, ex-homeless veteran Willie Dread passed away

Polk Honor Flight passenger dies after fall at home
News Chief
Paul Catala
August 5, 2018

Willie Dread, who died July 31, was among 81 World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans who flew to Washington, D.C., on April 10 and returned home to a hero’s welcome the next day.
LAKELAND — Over the past six years, Willie Dread became more to Emily Cornelius than just a subject for a school project — he became a genuine friend.

And although that friendship came to a close Saturday afternoon, the inspirational bond Dread formed with Cornelius will carry on in her heart, mind and aspirations.

Dread, who died July 31, was among 81 World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans who flew to Washington, D.C., on April 10 and returned home to a hero’s welcome the next day before the start of the Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In Expo’s night airshow. A U.S. Army veteran, he was one of 81 veterans to make the April excursion.

After a fall and hitting his head at his apartment last Tuesday, Dread, 71, was hospitalized in Lakeland Regional Hospital and placed on life support in the intensive care unit. He was officially pronounced dead Tuesday but was sustained via life support until 4:37 p.m. Saturday, after his sister from Atlanta was able to see him.
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Original report Lakeland Teenager Honors Vietnam Veteran

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Lakeland Teenager Honors Vietnam Veteran

UPDATE

Lakeland teen, Vietnam veteran share memorable Honor Flight, visit to Vietnam Memorial


Lakeland teen surprises formerly homeless veteran with Honor Flight
WFLA 8 News
Melissa Marino
April 11, 2018

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) - An Army Veteran who spent years living on the streets in Lakeland is getting the trip of a lifetime, all thanks to a teen who has made it her mission to help him.
Vietnam Veteran William Dread, also known as Willie, and 17-year-old Emily Cornelius will take off on Wednesday on the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. from the Lakeland Linder Airport.

Over the years, the pair has formed an unlikely bond.

"I decided I would go back on my military training and bought my tent and I just camped out," William Dread said.

He told WFLA that after serving as an officer in the Army, he fell on tough times. For years, the Vietnam Veteran lived on the streets of Lakeland.

But one moment changed his life forever.
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Missing Florida 12-year-old found dead after being bullied online

Off topic but I think you'll know why I had to post this
Missing 12-year-old found dead in Lakeland
WESH 2
Amanda Ober
September 10, 2013

POLK COUNTY, Fla. —A Lakeland mom said her 12-year-old daughter took her life Monday because she was sick of being cyber-bullied by a group of five or six middle school girls.

Becca Sedwick, 12, was reported missing Monday when she didn't return home from school. Early Tuesday morning, her body was found at a defunct cement plant not far from her house.
Sedwick's mother, Tricia Norman, said her daughter was being so badly bullied last year by a group of girls at Crystal Lake Middle School that Norman complained to school officials and even filled out an official bullying report on-line.

Norman says back in February, she decided to pull her daughter out of school and begin home-schooling her but the bullying continued through cyberspace.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Satirical military news site fools some readers

Satirical military news site fools some readers
By Gina Harkins
Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Aug 14, 2012

A fake military news site is doing such a good job of lampooning the service, it’s already duped some officials into thinking their breaking news is real.

Former Marine Sgt. Paul Szoldra, from Lakeland, Fla., runs The Duffel Blog, the military’s equivalent to the satirical newspaper, The Onion. He has about 20 writers regularly contributing stories on a volunteer basis from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

“I guess airmen just don’t have anything to complain about,” he said, jokingly about the site’s lack of Air Force contributors.

The stories on The Duffel Blog are never real and are often ridiculous. But Szoldra, a 28-year-old college senior, and his contributors mimic the look of real news stories very well. When a story announcing a Defense Department ban on Tapout apparel for all troops went up, some people got pretty upset.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lakeland Police Officer Crispin's life honored at funeral

Friends Remember LPD Officer Crispin at Funeral
LAKELAND
Thousands of mourners filled Victory Assembly Church this morning for the funeral of Officer Arnulfo Crispin.

Officers from throughout Florida attended the service for the 25-year-old officer who was gunned down in the line of duty last week. Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi also attended.

Police Chief Lisa Womack spoke during the service, recalling Crispin's quiet nature and ever-present smile. She said many people have mentioned to her the ways Crispin touched their lives.

"He brought an enthusiasm and energy that was contagious. He was well respected by his peers and praised by those who worked with him for his passion and his energy. As I talked to those who worked closely with him on Charlie Squad over the past week, it was clear he was a favorite member and was becoming respected as a shift leader," she said. "Charlie Squad is going to miss him greatly."

"It is with great sadness that as the police chief of the Lakeland Police Department that I must call the end of watch of Officer Arnulfo Crispin on Dec. 21st, 2011," she said.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Medal Awarded for 101st Airborne Vietnam-Era Covert Op

Medal Awarded for Vietnam-Era Covert Op
September 22, 2011
Knight Ridder
by Howard Altman

It was September 1968, and Richard Crawford was on a secret mission in a country where U.S. troops weren't supposed to be.

Crawford, now a Lakeland resident, was inside one of several helicopters headed to Laos on a mission to rescue a reconnaissance team that had come under heavy fire. Over the course of several hours, the helicopters were shredded by fire. Two crashed and several soldiers were injured, but the reconnaissance team was saved.

From a written eyewitness account by Roger F. Lockshier, Specialist 5/E-5Black Angels Co., 101st. Airborne Division:
"We rolled in for the pick-up and immediately started receiving tremendous amounts of automatic weapons fire. I could hear and feel our helicopter getting hit with bullets as we laid down our machine-gun, 40mm, & rocket fire. Scott and I stepped out onto the skids and proceeded to lay down a non stop blanket of M-60 fire."

It was another harrowing day in the life of the secret Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observations Group, a highly classified U.S. special forces unit that conducted covert operations before and during the Vietnam War. It was created more than two decades before U.S. Special Operations Command.

For more than four decades after making their way out of that harrowing firefight, the men, led by a now 68-year-old Crawford, have been fighting another battle.
One for recognition. And honor.
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Injured warriors face a different fight today

Injured warriors face a different fight today

Mike Fradera, a member of the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, takes off one of his prosthetic legs as he prepares to get onto his hand-crank wheelchair to practice for the Disney Half Marathon at Disney's Shades of Green Hotel on Jan. 6, 2011. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel / January 4, 2011)

Darryl E. Owens
COMMENTARY
11:10 p.m. EST, January 7, 2011
Three years ago, after losing his legs to a roadside blast in Iraq, Mike Fradera lay in a Texas Army hospital bed, going stir-crazy.

He craved the freedom that a new set of government-issued limbs promised.

Three years later, padding around on his metallic limbs is second nature. Still, it's only when Fradera ditches his legs and climbs into his hand-crank wheelchair that his soul runs free.

"I feel liberated" in a way that his prosthetic legs wouldn't allow, says Fradera, 33, of Lakeland. "There're a lot of limitations to what you can do with missing legs."

Limitations that seem miles away when he cranks his three-wheeler, as he showed last year in winning the wheelchair crank division of the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

"You're doing 20 mph and you're pushing yourself and you've got the wind in your face and you're flying down that road, you feel a sense of freedom and a sense of accomplishment of crossing that finish line," Fradera says.

This morning, he defends his title at Disney. But he won't be alone. A platoon of 11 wounded warriors — all staying at Disney's Shades of Green military resort — will join the retired Army staff sergeant. Their mission: prove to themselves — and everyone else — that combat may have stolen their limbs, but not their ability to accomplish great things.
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Injured warriors face a different fight today

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lakeland Florida gunfight leaves two deputies wounded, suspect dead

Lakeland gunfight leaves two deputies wounded, suspect dead
By Danny Valentine, Times Staff Writer
Posted: Jun 25, 2010 05:55 AM
LAKELAND — Two Polk County sheriff's deputies were shot multiple times in an early-morning gunfight with a suspected prowler Friday.

The unidentified suspect was killed but the two deputies are expected to recover, authorities said.

Deputy Paul Fairbanks III, 58, was shot in the stomach and left arm and was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center for surgery.

Deputy Michael Braswell, 32, was shot in the extremities, deputies said. He was taken to the same hospital for treatment.

Both deputies were wearing bullet-proof vests.
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Lakeland gunfight leaves two deputies wounded

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sgt. Keith Adam Coe Sacrificed His Life for His Men


An Army carry team carries the transfer case containing the remains of Army Sgt. Keith Adam Coe of Auburndale, Fla., upon his arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Del.


Fulton native Sgt. Keith Coe dies in Iraq
By Paul Brockwell, Jr.
May 01, 2010, 10:46AM

Sgt. Keith A. Coe worked hard to get into the Army. When he was 26, the Fulton native was living in Florida working at a truss company and had been in trouble with the law.

Relatives say his eight months in jail for violating probation really marked a turning point in his life.

After getting released, his grandmothers say, Coe wanted to make something of himself and he saw the Army as his way to achieve that goal. His probation officer, says grandmother Dawn Jones, told her that she always knew Coe was one of the ones worth saving. Coe’s former probation officer stopped by to pay her respects and grieve with the family, Jones said.

In 2007, he married his wife, Katrina, at a Hawaiian wedding in Granny Jones’ back yard. Soon after, he joined the Army. Three years later, he had risen to the rank of sergeant.

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Fulton native Sgt. Keith Coe dies in Iraq


also

'Coe Daddy' Sacrificed His Life for His Men
Family of A'dale Army sergeant to hold memorial service in Haven.
By Shoshana Walter
THE LEDGER


Published: Friday, April 30, 2010 at 11:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 30, 2010 at 11:38 p.m.


LAKELAND His men called him "Coe Daddy."


And on Tuesday, Sgt. Keith A. Coe, 30, sacrificed his life for them, said grandmother Dawn Jones.

Defense Department officials say Coe died Tuesday in Khalis, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an explosive device. Coe was the first to step out of the truck when they arrived on scene for a mission, Jones said. Before anyone else could jump out, he was caught in the explosion, she said.

"All the others in the truck were just kids, just out of high school. It was his duty to get out of that truck first because he was the sergeant in charge," Jones said. "Keith saved their lives."
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Coe Daddy Sacrificed His Life for His Men

Friday, February 19, 2010

Military embraces mourning families at Dover Air Force Base

Military embraces mourning families

By HOWARD ALTMAN

haltman@tampatrib.com

Published: February 19, 2010

Greg Reiners stood on the flight line at Dover Air Force base early Monday.

It was cold and silent, save for the sound of soldiers' footfalls and the whine of the C-17's generators keeping the lights on in the bay of the big cargo plane ahead of them.

Reiners, flanked by daughter-in-law Casey Reiners and his ex-wife, Ronna Jackson, waited with the families of two other soldiers killed when a suicide bomber on a motorcycle drove into their patrol in southern Afghanistan last Friday.

They listened to the chaplain say a prayer. Then the caskets were rolled down the cargo ramp.

John Reiners' was first.

Casey Reiners and Ronna Jackson started crying.

"I got weak in the knees, too," Greg Reiners said. "But I had to stand strong."

He embraced his daughter-in-law. He embraced his ex-wife.

"I held them tight," he said. "I let them know I was there for both of them."

For Reiners, the experience was deeply moving and greatly appreciated.

In April, the Obama administration instituted a policy that pays for up to three family members to fly to Dover, the sprawling Delaware base where Americans killed in action are brought home. The change came at the same time the administration allowed the media to attend the ceremonies if given the permission of the families.

"If not for this program, I would not have been able to experience this," said Reiners, who is from Lakeland.
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Military embraces mourning families

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lakeland baby starves and dies in a well-stocked home

This just sounds too evil to believe! How could anyone do this? It's not that they didn't have enough money and since they had other children, it is not as if they didn't know children need to be fed.

Lakeland baby starves in a well-stocked home
By Jessica Vander Velde, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Thursday, November 5, 2009



LAKELAND — The pantry and refrigerator were full of juice, pasta, snacks and canned food — plenty to fill the bellies of the two adults and five children who lived in the house on Sunshine Drive.

But not enough for the baby.

Only 2 ounces of formula were found Monday in the home where paramedics pronounced an emaciated 5-month-old girl dead. She weighed just 6 pounds.

Chauntasia Gardner starved to death in a house with more beer than infant formula, investigators said, and the Polk County Sheriff's Office blames the parents. Tivasha E. Logan, 25, and her boyfriend, Chauncey Gardner, 27, were charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.

"It is mind-boggling," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. "I've done this job my entire adult life, and I've seen a lot of violence against children and babies, but I can't ever remember seeing one starve to death. This child was tortured for days on end until she finally died from starvation."
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Lakeland baby starves in a well-stocked home

Monday, May 4, 2009

Florida man kills wife, 2 kids, himself, officials say

Florida man kills wife, 2 kids, himself, officials say
Story Highlights
Bodies of gunman, wife, 2 children found at Lakeland, Florida, home, officials say

Boy, 13, was chased down street, fired at, but got away unharmed, officials say

Gunman used a high-powered rifle with scope, authorities say


(CNN) -- A man shot and killed his wife and two of their children and then killed himself in central Florida on Sunday night, authorities said.

Troy Ryan Bellar, 34, used a high-powered rifle with a scope to shoot his 31-year-old wife, Wendy, when she tried to leave their home, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Two of the couple's children -- 5-month-old Zack and 7-year-old Ryan -- also were killed, but a 13-year-old got away, with the father chasing and firing after him, officials said.
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Florida man kills wife, 2 kids, himself, officials say