Encouragement · Hope · Relationship

New Kids in Town

There’s a new breed of “hero” in the country.

I’m pretty sure you’ve seen a few but you didn’t know what you were looking for.

Wait.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

First, I want to talk about the heroes that have flown in and out of your life.USA womens soccer 2019

Think back to Superman, or George Lucas, astronauts or police officers?

How ’bout our World Champion USA soccer team?   

So who and what is this new breed of heroes I’m talking about?

These heroes are “Pediatric Burn Survivors”!

They survived the fire that was consuming them and they are surviving the emotional handicap of growing up scared.  

But how are these ‘child burn survivors’ heroes?

For one thing,  most face multiple surgeries, over multiple years since every growth spurt requires “skin-release’ surgery so they can keep growing. 

Next, they take their scars to school with them and are then ridiculed.

Many are bullied or laughed at.

One child I know was tagged with  a new name–“Freddy Kruger.”

I want you to take that in and feel the shame that lingers. (And we thought the sky was falling when we had a ‘zit’ on our forehead.) 

fullsizeoutput_526b.jpeg
Catching Courage ’19 Pediatric Burn Survivors

These young burn survivors are heroes because daily they walk into school never knowing who would hurt them with words or everything going on behind their back.

Think about the everyday insecurities of ‘growing up’, especially in puberty.

Then, on top of their fears, add physical deformities.

Be mindful that most of their peers will never understand. Not even me–an adult burn survivor–even I don’t understand.

It’s all so unfair.

CC- brody:kaleigh
CC ’19-Brody and Kaleigh
IMG950696
CC ’19–Alex
IMG_0185
CC ’19–Lovely
Brantson
CC ’19–Future Firefighter Brantson

These kids are the new breed of “heroes.”

dawn

BTW-If this is something that you would like to support, please visit us at www.ryanshines.com or follow us on FB and IG @dawnraymondhirn

 

 

 

Encouragement · Hope · Relationship

Who rescues the rescuers?

How does Ryan Shines help support our Firefighters?

We’re building a community at Ryan Shines that recognizes that Firefighters are stronger when they face their daily internal reality together and head-on.

ff-peer support

We want this community of trust to be available to every Career&Volunteer&Retired Firefighter in America.

We want to show them that Firefighters don’t ever have to live or die alone.

ff-peer

So we will join their band of brothers and sisters from across the state to form a support network for the mental and physical health of their fellow Firefighters by providing trained assistance through a  “Firefighter Peer Support” Team.

Let me tell you the story about a Fire Chief in Alabama. His name is Mark Sealy and he oversees 24 fire stations in Mobile.

mark sealy

His best friend, a fellow Firefighter, suffered and died from PTSD.

All he knew was to self-medicate.

That’s the day when the Chief really ‘got it.’

His friend had survived every emergency that Firefighters face but his ‘internal Civil War’ took him out.

So, Mark not only knows everything first hand about firefighting but he has also been at the center of personal tragedy himself.

And he’s so open and eager that our common dream of ‘Peer Support’ take root and grow.

ff-peer6

 

In other words,  we ‘drank the kool-aid.’

I wish I could clone him and send him to every fire station in the country.

This is what we are developing in our own circle of influence.

We have created our first of many statewide Support Teams called “Alabama Firefighter Peer Support” at Ryan Shines.

Now, I am not fluent in ‘Firefighter,’ but I do understand personal trauma and the aftermath (PTSD), and the importance of finding friends you can trust.

You’ll find men and women with whom you can speak in a kind of  ‘shorthand’ because they intimately know the words and the feelings that have been burned into their brain since their first fire. 

Ryan
Ryan

Every day I wish Ryan was here. But when I look at all we’re doing together, he is no less than the engine driving us, and his is the Shining that lights our way.

 

dawn

BTW-(If this is something that you would like to support, please visit us at www.ryanshines.com or follow us on FB and IG @dawnraymondhirn)

Friendship · Relationship

Giving their lives

Can you imagine every time you go off to work you’re putting yourself in harm’s way?

(And here I am afraid of roaches.) 

Having met hundreds of Firefighters, every time I watch them work together, I am stunned by their compassionate Souls.

firefighting group

 

And their instinct to rescue, anyone or anything that is in danger.

It’s in their DNA. These remarkable people are a breed apart.

A blind man can see that.

So, let me ask you, “Would you consider running into fires for a living?” They do. Everyday.

I’m not saying they’re gods.

They are human beings like us.

But it’s their passion that sets them apart. It is their curse and their blessing.

They live between a rock and a soft place. 

Trust me, I know what I’m talking about here.

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 9.26.28 PM

I live in the South. In Alabama.

Can you believe that we’re ranked #2 in Firefighter suicide over work-related deaths in our country? And it’s prevalent nationwide. 

In the face of all this, I feel ashamed for not observing that these quiet heroes, imprisoned by workplace heartache and trauma, want to end their lives.

Why don’t they just ask for help? Because…

It’s not in their job description. Their job is to save others, not themselves.

Which means that it’s our job to support those who risk it all to rescue others.  

IMG_2298 2

Next week, I’d like to talk about how Ryan Shines offers support.

dawn

BTW-(If this is something that you would like to support, please visit us at www.ryanshines.com or follow us on FB and IG @dawnraymondhirn)

 

Encouragement · Hope · Relationship

Hero-to-Hero

In 2018, we expanded our ‘Blessings umbrella’ to include Firefighters.

I had no idea how much our Firefighters go through emotionally and physically. Even sacrificially.

All I really knew is that they like to fish.

IMG_5485
Heroes&Hooks/Catching Courage Bass Fishing Tournament 2019

So, we created a fishing event called “Catching Courage,” including both Burn Survivors and Firefighters at the same event.

Part of our mission at Ryan Shines Burn Foundation is to get both groups together at one place for bonding, healing, and serious fun!

We are creating a safe place where our Survivors and Firefighters can be together, fish together, and reconnect after the fire.

IMG_2298 2
Catching Courage 2018 – Survivors & Firefighters

That’s why our mission is so rare.

I wish you could see both groups enjoying each other and asking each other real life-questions.

We didn’t know what to expect.

I thought the kids might be shy but they talked with each other on the same level: Hero-to-Hero!

This year, we continue honoring both groups in a Saltwater Fishing Tournament (“Catching Courage”).

Catching Courage logo copy-final.png

It will involve multi-state Firefighters and it will be hosted by our ‘First Mates,’ our youth Burn Survivors.

Our hope is that every youth Burn Survivor and Firefighter leaves for home with a full heart; encouraged and more courageous as they learn to tell their story and catch everyday courage from each other.

IMG_5473.jpg
Catching Courage 2018  Islamorada, FL

dawn

PS- Next time, I’d like for us to talk about ‘the sacrifices our Firefighters make.’

BTW-(If this is something that you would like to support, please visit us at www.ryanshines.com or follow us on FB and IG @dawnraymondhirn)

Family · Relationship

I found it in the Dark

I’m thinking about the big Blessing that happened to me.hand dark

I’m still not sure if I found it or it found me.

But I’ve got to tell you what was weird about it.

I found it in the Dark, not in the Light.

I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.

Do you remember the story of the policeman who was going out the door to work the night shift and dropped his keys in the grass?

His wife came out to help him look.

He was walking up and down the curb.

His wife asked him, “Is that where you lost them?”

He said, “No, but the light’s much better here.”

I think that’s true for all of us.

We assume our Blessing is dancing in front of us in the light because that would make it easier to find.

But don’t forget, it took me 14 years to find it, and when I found it I knew immediately that the Blessing wasn’t for me to keep.

cropped-dawn-cu2.jpeg

I was Blessed to be a Blessing to others.

RY shines 2

Dawn          

 

 

 

 

I’ll tell you how the Blessing grew next time…

 

Encouragement · Faith · Family · Relationship

Count your Blessings

I started counting my Blessings: being a mother, enjoying a long and loving marriage, our healthy sons, and a purposeful life.

IMG_5047

We’ve all experienced tragedies that we thought would follow us forever and stop the beating of our heart.

When Ryan was killed in the fire, my heart stopped and all I could see and hear was, “NOOOOO!”

There was no Blessing there on the frontage road in South Texas.

And it was emotionally exhausting to search for the Blessing.

It took me 14 years to get my ‘focus’ back.

But once I found it, it was like hitting a gusher.

I let it run down my face like oil and all the way down to my toes.  

A record-breaking gusher of Blessings!

One big “Yes” overpowering the “NO!

I want to tell you the secret of how I found my big “YES!”

blessings

The Blessing that’s bigger than any Curse.

We’ll look together here next time.

Dawn           

Family · Friendship · Relationship

Com-PAN-ioning

“The word is ‘’pan.’’

It means ‘’bread’’ in most every language.

IMG_3422.JPG
Trenton & Colton w/ Singapore friends

It suggests that ‘’breaking bread” together is at the heart of our companioning with God, family, and friends.

This is the center of our journey together that we’ve talked so much about.

There is an episode in the Book of Revelation where Jesus says, “I am knocking at your door. If you will answer and let me come in, we will eat together” (Rev. 3:20).  

What if Jesus is saying that eating together is a key to building relationships?

That he would choose food that we are homesick for?  A table is heavy with good grub. Think back for a moment over all the great meals you’ve shared. 

Did you ever feel that the one sitting across from you is the richest choice on the menu?

bread companioning.jpgIt suggests that ‘’breaking bread” together is at the heart of our companioning with God, family, and friends.

This is a part of our journey together that we’ve talked so much about.

There is an episode in the Book of Revelation where Jesus says, “I am knocking at your door. If you will answer and let me come in, we will eat together” (Rev. 3:20).  

Jesus might be saying that eating together is key to building relationships. Think back for a moment over all the great meals you’ve shared. 

Did you ever feel that the one sitting across from you was the richest choice on the menu?Screen Shot 2019-02-20 at 3.39.44 PM.png

dawn

Exclusive Instagram content @dawnraymondhirn. Loved for you to join me there.