We Respond To First Responders
HOW WE RESPOND TO FIRST RESPONDERS
A white paper published by the Ruderman Family Foundation shows that first responders are more likely to die from the effects of mental illness, trauma, and depression, than in the line of duty. The paper states that only 40% of first responder suicides are reported. The shame and stigma that prevent first responders from seeking emotional help is the reason that HERO’s co-founder, Jonathan Lang, currently works the Warm Line for AliveRVA as a Peer Support Specialist/Mentor out of Richmond, VA.
The HERO website is the culmination of many years of work and hard-won experience serving first responders in the Atlantic region of the U.S., across the nation, and around the globe.
HERO’s mission is to make sure that first responders don’t have to fight this alone. We offer immediate assistance to firefighters, EMTs, police, and others in the form of a Warm Line, Peer Support, Financial Assistance, Resources, and continuation of peer support following treatment. We also have a Scholarship Fund open to graduating high school seniors who have lost a parent or family member, who was a first responder, due to suicide or overdose.
In a line of work that prioritizes bravery, loyalty, and inner strength, HERO responds to our nation’s first responders.
The Michael Deal Scholarship Fund is open to graduating high school seniors from anywhere in the country who have lost a parent or family member who was a first responder, due to suicide or overdose.
The HERO Assistance Fund can provide monetary assistance to families of first responders with financial issues caused by loss of wages due to a loved one in a recovery treatment plan.
The HERO Warm Line is staffed by first responders who have been trained in Peer Support.
HERO is a support organization for first responders founded in 2018 by husband-and-wife team Jon and Amy Lang. They are no strangers to the mental and emotional strain that emergency responders internalize over time.
Jon has served for 16 years as a Firefighter/EMT at Fort Belvoir Fire and Rescue, Bethesda National Naval Medical Center and Forward Operating Base Camp Bucca, Iraq. Motivated by the tragic loss of a coworker and his own struggles with Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness, Jon has successfully founded and developed the country’s first federal peer support program for first responders at a U.S. Army installation. The Peer Support Program for Fort Belvoir Fire Department works closely with its Employee Assistance Program, as well as chaplains and behavioral health teams from surrounding counties. The program trains emergency professionals and serves first responders in need of support. Through the process of peer support, lived experience, and an understanding of the stressors of the job, we are building healthier, happier and stronger heroes for our communities. It’s ok to not be ok.
Amy has been married to Jon for 17 years. Her commitment to HERO stems from her family experience with substance use disorder that can, when treated effectively, lead one through recovery to complete personal and professional success. Jon and Amy are proud of their family’s long-term recovery, and together they offer first-hand knowledge, understanding, and compassion for the unique issues that first responders face in regards to mental health and substance use disorder.