When we are given the chance to meet with and educate First Responders, there are always people in the group that we seem to connect with – we never know who it will be, and sometimes it is many people, although we may never know what our message has done.

Today we were blessed again to present to a group of First Responders a few hours from home but very close to a community that is still reeling from a recent law enforcement death.  Any time we are near one of these communities it gives me pause, especially because in some way, having Frank alive can be seen as either a positive or a negative – people can be so happy that Frank lived to tell his story, and others are deeply saddened because the officer in their community did not survive.

I always say a special prayer in my heart before these presentations.

Today was one of those days, where we were blessed to have a great opportunity, in a community that still grieves.  As we walked through the story (I always run out of time) I tried to leave some time for questions.  This time can go either way – either we get tons of questions and cannot get off of the stage for 30 minutes, or we get crickets.  Today was a quiet day, with just one or two short questions before we finished.

However, the story of today does not end there.

A few people made their way to the front instead of heading off to their break.  Any time we see people move towards us we know that there is likely a story; either a tale of brain injury survival, struggle, law enforcement fears or accidents in their department.  Today was no exception, as we began to hear amazing brain injury recovery stories, sad tales of family notification, and those close to the department that lost an officer this past year.

Each story for us is an opportunity to connect with those people that need a listening ear.  It is a time for us to be able to understand how others have moved through their own traumas, and how we can better work through our own.

Each story is a blessing to us; each connection a cherished event.

I am thankful for today – thankful for the people that we met, thankful for the time we spent with others, and thankful for the gifts of kindness that we received.

And the great loaf of bread from the local bakery was pretty great too.

Una Stamus.

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