Over a Cup

Ali Rothrock

Over a Cup is a weekly podcast series for first responders hosted by Ali Rothrock. This podcast talks about mental health, recovery, and resources available to get and stay well.

All Episodes

In this 23rd episode, Ali Rothrock marks the end of Season 1 of Over a Cup. Stay tuned for Season 2 in 2020!

Oct 2019

5 min 32 sec

In this episode of Over a Cup, we are talking about the Pulse Nightclub shooting that took place on June 12, 2016 in Orlando Florida. Ali speaks with Orlando firefighters Brian Stilwell and Jeff Orrange. Brian was working the night of the shooting and was forced to shelter in place in his station before tending to patients and shuttling them to the hospital. Jeff was a part of the peer response team that responded to the aftermath. Jeff tells us about what went right and the lessons learned. Brian and Jeff speak about the mental health impacts that this incident had on the first responders and the resources they used to get a stay well. If you want to book a class from the Hurd group and get a 25% discount for mentioning this episode, email jeremy@thehurdgroup.org

Oct 2019

26 min 53 sec

In episode 21 Ali recaps the last 10 interviews with powerful snipets pulled from each conversation.  

Oct 2019

18 min 50 sec

In this powerful 20th episode, Ali speaks with Wyoming firefighter Feike van Dijk. In 2014, Feike and his wife Noelle lost 2 of their 5 children in a house fire. Less than a year after this tragedy, Feike felt that he wanted to give back to the community who had supported their family. He also wanted to overcome the demon of fire that had terrorized their family. He accomplished both by becoming a firefighter. Feike tells us how empowering firefighting has been for him and the relationship he’s gained with the responders who showed up to his house on that fateful night. Feike tells us about his two boys Noah and Zephy that died and the long recovery journey of his then 9 month old, Remy. Remy was burned over 35% of his body and was in a coma for 24 days. Feike tells us about the moment Remy woke up in the hospital and smiled for the first time. This image of Remy smiling for the first time can be viewed on our social media. Feike talks to us about the ability that we all have to make a choice in moments of tragedy or hardship, that we can choose how we respond and react. His story is heartbreaking but empowering at the same time and is so powerful for all first responders. In Clinician’s Corner Dr. Bisek tells us how to incorporate family into our therapy sessions. A big thank you to our product sponsor Nyad Inc! If you or someone you know would like to apply for a Nyad sponsored scholarship to access the On the Job & Off educational platform, email ali@onthejobandoff.com.

Sep 2019

29 min 22 sec

On our 19th episode, Ali speaks with Olivia from Yoga for First Responders. Olivia tells us about how she got started in the yoga practice and why she decided to adapt her training specifically for firefighters. Olivia understands the assumption about yoga is that she is just teaching people to “stretch better” but she sees the benefit as the mental and neurological control that the practice of yoga gives firefighters. “The trauma, loss, death, and destruction that first responders are seeing needs to be addressed and without that we are seeing high statistics of stress-based physical and mental health problems.”   Olivia tells us how a yoga practice can practically help firefighters regulate after a middle of the night call, help them rest more effectively and how to help their minds be better prepared to perform under stress. Yoga for First Responders YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBU0mRTMl-GkNjo8AAS92iw   Yoga For First Responders Website: https://www.yogaforfirstresponders.org/   In Clinician's Corner Dr. Bisek talks to us about how to deal with having anxiety while on the job.  Recommended Book: The Upside of Stress: https://www.amazon.com/Upside-Stress-Why-Good-You/dp/B00UVUDCKE/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+upside+of+stress&qid=1568747780&s=gateway&sr=8-1 A big thank you to our product sponsor Nyad, Inc! To be awarded a Nyad scholarship to the On the Job & Off annual membership platform please email ali@onthejobandoff.com

Sep 2019

33 min 8 sec

On this 18th episode of Over a Cup, host Ali Rothrock talks about her company On the Job and Off. On the Job and Off produces this podcast, but it also an online platform dedicated to building more resilient first responders.  On the Job and Off provides courses on various facets of mental health, on ending sexual harassment and sexual violence in the fire service and on addiction as it relates to first responders. To become a member and access all our courses visit www.onthejobandoff.com Our sponsor Nyad is generously giving away 10 indvidual annual memberships. To nomiate yourself or someone else for one of these scholarships, email ali@onthejobandoff.com and let her know why. 

Sep 2019

24 min 7 sec

On April 14, 2012 Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills woke up in a hospital in Germany after spending 4 days in a coma. It was his 25th birthday. 4 days earlier he had been blown up by an IED in Afghanistan and was now a quadruple amputee. I was honored to speak with Travis and to hear his story first hand. He is the epitome of resilience and is someone who honestly does not dwell on the past. As Travis says “you can’t always control the situation but you can control your attitude.” Despite missing all four limbs Travis says he doesn’t think of himself as different than any other person. He just “has a few more steps to get ready in the morning.” Travis shares his story and recovery journey with us and also talks about the importance of getting mental health help when you need it. Travis and his wife Kelsey run the Travis Mills Foundation, which is a non-profit for recalibrated warriors and their families. To learn more about this amazing organization visit https://travismillsfoundation.org/

Sep 2019

23 min 18 sec

On today's episode of Over a Cup, EMS Captain Jeremy Hurd tell us how stumbled upon his role as a chaplain. As a brand new department chaplain, one of Jeremy's first tasks was leading a LODD funeral for Lt. Rafael Vazquez who was shot and killed.  Jeremy tells us how he found his way in this new role, the beauty of "the gift of presence" and how a chaplain could support you in your life. Jeremy also tells us the beautiful story of how a simple text he sent saved the life of Ray's widow.  To listen to Jeremy's podcast on Fire Engineering Radio called "Chaplain's Corner":  https://www.blogtalkradio.com/fireengineeringpodcast/2019/08/01/chaplains-corner

Aug 2019

27 min 22 sec

On June 24th, 2015 firefighter / paramedic Ben Vernon was stabbed on duty by a random bystander. The entire attack took only a few seconds, but Ben came very close to being killed. With his lung punctured and ribs broken, Ben thought he just needed to physically heal and then he’d be back to who he was before. Unfortunately, the path forward wasn’t that easy. Ben tells us about his road to recovery including the challenges he faced in finding a clinician who was a good fit for him. He tells us the success he finally found with therapy and EMDR and what he wants first responders to know about speaking up and getting help. To hear more from Ben & Alex and watch the video of the incident click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4nBVt6ODB0&t=61s To learn more about our product sponsor and to use the 20% off promo code OVERACUP visit www.SaferStraps.com SaferStraps offer the industries' only fully waterproof, field cleanable and laser sealed radio strap and tactical belts on the market.

Aug 2019

57 min 57 sec

In 1995, firefighter Chris Fields become famous for a photo that was taken on an infamous day. At the Oklahoma City Bombing, Chris was photographed holding the body of 1 year Baylee Almon who had been murdered in the explosion. That picture would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize.  Chris talks to us about the moments surrounding that picture and about how the bombing was the catalyst that forced him to deal with years of unprocessed trauma he had been dealing with. He talks to us about what led him to rock bottom and the turning point that got him to where he is today. In Clinician’s Corner, Dr. Anne Bisek talks to us about the difference between a critical call and a traumatic one. To learn more about our product sponsor, Fire Department Coffee visit their site here: https://www.firedeptcoffee.com/ Please use caution while looking at our social media for this episode as we included the two pictures of Chris with Baylee. 

Aug 2019

38 min 54 sec

At the age of 16 Trent “Maxi” Maxwell became the youngest professional lifeguard on Bondi Beach, the busiest beach in Australia. Lifeguards on Bondi conduct up to 200 rescues in one day, also dealing with drownings, suicides, accidents, heart attacks, shark attacks and so much more. You can watch the action by searching for “Bondi Rescue” on Netflix. As a young lifeguard Maxi responded to a suicide on the neighboring beach of Bronte and he talks about the impact that incident had on him. In 2013, Maxi became an ambassador for the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, Headspace. Maxi and another Bondi Lifeguard Jesse Polluck road jet skis 1900 miles over 16 days to raise awareness for mental health and suicide. Maxi is also a firefighter with the New South Wales Fire & Rescue services. Watch the documentary they made about the trip called “The Ride East Coast” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs7hiHq3C0g&list=PL0Xa58krD0jWb5YSfCzWJk86JCwbwxB-j Maxi is the author of 3 children’s books on water and fire safety and runs a company called “Live Learn Survive. Learn more about him and  Live Learn Survive here: https://www.lifeguardmaxi.com.au/ Watch the ‘Bondi Rescue’ episode Ali & Maxi talk about on Netflix here: https://www.netflix.com/watch/81029212?trackId=14170286&tctx=2%2C0%2Cfa0f80a7-7dbb-4697-9bd7-fa9618227cc2-57411882%2C0c72e4c2-7d78-4905-a674-48fa250edaed_50534565X3XX1565187759247%2C0c72e4c2-7d78-4905-a674-48fa250edaed_ROOT You can find Maxi on Instagram at @lifeguardmaxi In Clinician’s Corner Dr. Anne Bisek talks to the Fire Chief’s out there about how their younger firefighters are processing critical calls developmentally. Learn more about product sponsor, Fire Department Coffee here: https://www.firedeptcoffee.com/

Aug 2019

22 min 59 sec

In Over a Cup’s 12th episode Ali recaps each of Dr. Anne Bisek’s Clinician’s Corner. Dr. Bisek tells us: What the first session of therapy could look like How to learn if a clinician is the right fit for you How to know if you need therapy How to incorporate family into our positive coping skills How long people usually need to go to therapy How to maintain positive coping skills when life gets busy About (EMDR) eye movement desensitization and reprocessing About grief About the 5 factor Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory As Dr. Bisek says “the longer it goes on, the less likely it is to resolve on its own.” Don't wait any longer. Help that helps is out there! Check out our product sponsor Nyad Inc at www.Nyad.com Visit www.onthejobandoff.com to learn more about the annual membership platform.

Aug 2019

24 min 20 sec

In this episode of Over a Cup, host Ali Rothrock recaps the first 10 guests. From Jason Patton to John Lightsey we will hear a snippet from each guest’s interview as they share an important part of their mental health message. To learn more about our product sponsor visit Nyad.com

Jul 2019

25 min 50 sec

In this powerful 10th episode of Over a Cup, FDNY dispatcher John Lightsey (ret.) tells us his story of dispatching the infamous September 11th attacks. John was working in the Manhattan communications center on that Tuesday morning and did not leave for the next 4 days. When he was finally released, John went to Ground Zero. Ali included much of John’s recorded dispatch audio from that morning, including audio of both towers being struck, collapsing and the ensuing chaos. While some of the audio is difficult to listen to as Ali puts it “I figure if people like Mike Dugan and John Lightsey can live this and live with it, we can certainly listen. And I don't think we can fully appreciate the prices they paid unless we hear them paying it.” This episode was created to honor and highlight the extraordinary work that emergency dispatchers do every day. Learn more about our product sponsor Nyad, Inc. by visiting their website.

Jul 2019

35 min 4 sec

In this special resource episode of Over a Cup, we have guest Sean Toomey. Sean is a Colorado firefighter who runs First Responder Sleep Recovery along with his wife Jacqueline. We received so many questions from our listeners about how to improve their sleep both at work and at home that we felt it was important to dedicate an entire episode to this topic. Sean tells us “interrupted and poor quality sleep is linked in a substantial way to cancer, to metabolic disorders, to cardiovascular disease…you can make the argument that sleep loss is the #1 cause of firefighter mortality.” Sean talks to us about how losing his friend to suicide in 2016 and feeling the personal impact of interrupted sleep lead him to dedicate his time to helping first responders sleep better. He talks to us about how to change our sleep environment, the positive benefit of dreams, how to calm pre-sleep anxiety, and the small improvements we can make at the station to improve sleep.  To learn more about First Responder Sleep Recovery visit https://www.firstrespondersleeprecovery.com/ Learn more about our product sponsor Nyad Inc. by visiting www.Nyad.com

Jul 2019

25 min 5 sec

On July 19th, 2018 a line of severe thunderstorms rolled into Branson, Missouri. Fire Chief Bruce Bjorge was on duty when a duck boat that was carrying 31 people sunk on nearby Table Rock Lake. 17 people drowned, including 9 people from the same family. He tells us about managing the scale of that incident, the mental health resources that were relied upon for the first responders and the ways this experience brought their community closer together. In Clinician’s Corner Dr. Anne Bisek talks to us about post-traumatic growth. She tells us the five facets of the Post-Traumatic Growth inventory and the ways that adverse life experiences can sometimes be a catalyst for positive growth. Learn more about our product sponsor Nyad Inc. by visiting www.Nyad.com

Jul 2019

36 min 52 sec

On October 11, 2018 Melanie Clark began to live a nightmare. She was on the phone with her husband Lt. Brad Clark when she heard the tones go for what would be his last call. While operating on the scene of an accident Brad was struck by a tractor trailer and killed. The actions he took in the seconds before the impact saved the lives of his 3 crew members. Melanie tells us about the role counseling is playing in her grief journey, the way the fire service community has rallied around her and what she is doing now to prevent other first responders from dying the way her husband did. Dr. Bisek talks about “being on call to grief,” the places grief is often the worst and the time frame we should give ourselves to be actively grieving. To learn more about Melanie’s work with the #MoveOverVA laws visit her social media.

Jun 2019

25 min 24 sec

In March of 2017 Kelly Herron was in the middle of a marathon training run. She stopped in the bathroom of Golden Gardens State Park in Seattle and was confronted by a man who'd been hiding in a stall waiting for a woman to attack. It took everything Kelly had to fight him off and lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Over night Kelly became famous for the battlecry she'd screamed at him and for the courageous way she reacted.  Kelly talks to us about the ways the attack challenged her sobriety, how EMDR therapy helped and a recent positive encounter she had with a first responder.  In Clinican's Corner Dr. Anne Bisek explains what EMDR therapy is and how it acts as "windshield wipers for the brain."

Jun 2019

38 min 32 sec

Our guest for the 5th episode is Chris Ackley. Chris is a veteran, firefighter, paramedic, husband and father who received two Purple Hearts while serving our country. Chris tells us about getting injured and the healing process he endured both physically and mentally. Chris tells us about his transition back home and about how he found a new mission after his experiences in war. Chris asks us all the question "what do you want to be known for? Tune in next week for the return of Clinician's Corner with Dr. Anne Bisek.  If you want to donate to the bike ride fundraiser to benefit the NVFC's Share the Load hotline visit www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/marc-warrens-bike-ride-for-first-responders-mental-health-to-benefit-the-nvfc

Jun 2019

38 min 20 sec

Our guest for the 4th episode is Frank DeAngelis. Frank was the Principal of Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 and continued to serve as leader of the school for 15 years after the shooting there. Ali talks about the cultural significance of the Columbine shooting and Frank tells us what life has been like since he “joined a club no one ever wants to join.” We can all learn so much from Frank, both in the way he responded to the tragedy and in everything he has done since. In Clinician’s Corner Dr. Anne Bisek answers the question “how can I maintain positive coping skills when life gets really busy?” Dr. Bisek also introduces us to the concept of “extra favorite everything.” Ali’s research for this episode came from “They Call Me Mr. De” by Frank DeAngelis. To support the Columbine community and learn more about the victims visit www.ColumbineMemorial.org

Jun 2019

43 min 13 sec

FDNY retired Captain Mike Dugan arrived at Ground Zero as the second tower was coming down. In our third episode Mike talks to us about his time as a firefighter and how he was impacted from the events of September 11th.  He tells us the story of the iconic American Flag picture, talks about Father Mychal Judge who was the first certified fatality of the September 11 terrorist attacks and about FDNY firefighter Chris Engledrum who served in the Army and was killed in action in Baghdad. In Clinician’s Corner Dr. Anne Bisek answers the listener question “how long do people need to go to therapy?” To learn more about how to James Zadroga Act visit www.renew911health.org

May 2019

48 min 13 sec

In our second episode, Florida firefighter Dustin Hawkins shares his incredible story of recovering from a major on the job injury. Dustin discusses the barriers he found between him and getting help and what he does these days to eliminate those barriers for other first responders.  In Clinician's Corner, Dr. Bisek answers the question "how do we integrate our families into our positive coping skills?" To learn more about the Florida Firefighter Safety & Health Collaborative visit www.floridafirefightersafety.org 

May 2019

1 hr 30 min

Our guest in Episode 1 is Jason Patton. Jason is the Vice President of Fire Department Coffee and is widely known as the funny guy from Fire Department Chronicles. Jason recently decided to open up about his mental health journey and we are honored that he would share his story with us.  In Clinican's Corner, Dr. Bisek answers questions from firefighters in Pennsylvania and Colorado about how therapy works and how to know if you need therapy. 

May 2019

25 min 57 sec

Welcome to Over a Cup, a podcast hosted by Ali Rothrock.  This podcast is for first responders featuring first responders and civilians who have chosen resilience in the face of mass casualty incidents, trauma and related mental health struggles. We want to highlight the resources used and show what those resources look like in action. Our goal is to encourage first responders to have open conversations about their mental health over their morning cup of coffee. In this introductory episode we meet the host for this podcast, Ali Rothrock. Ali will share her story with us including why she started this project. We will also hear from Dr. Anne Bisek, a clinician who works with first responders. Dr. Bisek will be answering listener questions in her weekly segment "Clinician's Corner." 

May 2019

22 min 32 sec