Events to honor, support first responders


TROY – Police, firefighters and EMTs, and emergency department nurses are just a few of the professionals who have been on the front lines of the battle against opioid and other addictions. May 2 will be a day of recognition for these professionals in Miami, Darke and Shelby counties.

The Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services is joining other mental health boards statewide in thanking those men and women who help make their communities safer. The board, with funding from the Ohio Association of Community Behavioral Health Authorities, the Prescription Abuse Leadership Initiative and NAMI Darke, Miami and Shelby Counties, will host Captain Dan Willis, author of “Bulletproof Spirit: The First Responder’s Essential Resource for Protecting and Healing Mind and Heart.”

“Our first responders bear a burden for keeping our communities safe,” said Beth Adkins, Tri-County’s director of prevention and education. “The best way we can say ‘Thank you’ and help ease that burden is to provide support and information. Capt. Willis has worked with first responders across the country to help them focus on self-care and emotional wellness in the face of increased demands. We are excited to be able to bring him to Ohio to meet with our responders.”

Three related events are scheduled for May 2: a workshop format led by Capt. Willis from 1-4 p.m., a celebration supper from 4:30-6 p.m. and an informative and inspirational talk from 6-7 p.m. The events are free to first responders living and working in Miami, Darke and Shelby counties: Fire/EMT, law enforcement, corrections, addictions counselors, crisis workers, emergency department doctors, nurses and technicians, and any others on the front lines of the community’s fight against opioids and other addictions who are at risk from vicarious trauma. Spouses, partners and supporters welcome; content may not be suitable for children.

There is no charge for any of the events, but registration is required. Individuals can register at All events take place at First Lutheran Church, 2899 W. Main St., Troy.

Willis has been a police officer for the La Mesa Police Department near San Diego, California. He has served as homicide detective, SWAT commander and instructor for the San Diego Public Safety Institute, the county’s police academy, where he provides emotional-survival training. His website is

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