Frontline Stories

First Responders Children’s Foundation would like to share with you the Frontline Stories of your first responders. Your nurses, paramedics, EMTs, ambulance drivers, firefighters, police officers, 911 dispatchers, and medical and frontline personnel. During the coronavirus pandemic, these are the people who bravely looked into the faces of those suffering from a new and unknown virus. As the number of 911 calls set daily records across America – in some places doubling the previous, all-time daily records – these are the people who answered all the calls for help in an effort to save lives.

First responders choose more than a career – certainly a lifestyle, maybe a calling – where their days are punctuated by hearing alarms and running into danger as others run away. Many of your first responders are volunteers driving ambulances, fighting fires, and nursing the sick. While millions of Americans were told to stay at home to fight the virus, your first responders almost never went home. They were forced to stay away from their families so as not to infect them. They slept in hotel rooms or in their cars – sometimes for weeks or months. They put themselves in harm’s way with little regard for their own safety thinking only of the safety of others.

While your brave first responder heroes were facing a virus they could neither see nor fully understand until months later, the dedicated staff of First Responders Children’s Foundation worked tirelessly from their homes securing funding and spending that money as quickly as it came in to pay for emergency relief efforts including mental health counseling, housing and hotel rooms, childcare and elder care, critical income loss, and funerals for first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice. The Foundation’s staff and volunteers delivered help, hope, and support to thousands of frontline, hometown heroes and their families.

They also sent hundreds of thousands of masks to first responders who didn’t have any. And, they even used first responders as the supply chain: highway patrols delivered masks the same day across some states, and state police facilities became drop ship locations where first responders in the area could pick up critical supplies. The Foundation delivered PPE to first responder agencies in need both large and small whether those agencies had 50,000 members or just five.

These Frontline Stories offer a window into a crisis that disrupted the world but not from the perspective of reporters or professional writers – these are first-hand accounts from those who choose to serve you and me. Just as some wartime veterans don’t talk about their experiences in battle, many first responders stay silent, and some say they need to just cry in private. We are fortunate to have the following accounts from first responders who choose to share their intimate, personal experiences.

Listen to the stories of your first responders, and help us help them.

Scott Perrin
Executive Director
First Responders Children’s Foundation
August 2, 2020

This Georgia nurse, temporarily sidelined from her critical work because of COVID symptoms, is a single mother of two school-age boys who lack the laptops they need to keep up with homework. Your donations will help her provide her sons what they need for distance schooling so she can return to work knowing that her kids can keep up with their class.

“I am a sergeant with the NYPD. As you know, NYC has been the epicenter of the pandemic and our Department has been thrown right into the center of it all. Our officer sick rate went above 20%, which is incredibly unprecedented and many non patrol officers had to be reassigned to help out patrol precincts. As of 2 days ago, we lost 33 NYPD employees, including both officer and civilian members, to the virus, and many more are still in the hospital. From enforcing social distancing, to ensuring all non essential businesses are closed, to ensuring city playgrounds are clear, to responding to the new influx of calls regarding violations of social distancing and related orders and finally to all of the regular crime complaints and 911 calls for help, our department and its officers have been stretched thin and exposed to various health and safety risks unlike ever before. Furthermore, due to all of the varied duties the department undertakes on regular basis and due to personnel shortages, many NYPD officers have been fortunate enough to have the ability to work overtime and supplement their income during the pre-Covid days. As you know, NYC is the most expensive city in the nation and our police salaries are not adequately reflected in that fact. So considering the city’s Covid-related budget shortfalls, many officers no longer have the opportunities to supplement their income with the same amount of overtime as during the pre-Covid days. Hence, I am immensely thankful to the First Responders Children’s Foundation for their support of law enforcement in this time of need!”

My parents are both in their late 50’s with significant medical history. I unfortunately work as an EMT in one of the hot spots for COVID-19 in New Jersey. My father recently fell and broke his femur–he’s in a rehab facility. So, it was just me and my mother at home when the pandemic began. As the cases mounted in my area of work, my mother grew increasingly anxious about me being in the house with her. Then one day, she called me hysterically anxious. She was terrified about me coming home every day and exposing her to the virus. So, we decided it was best for me to find a new place to stay for now. That same day I got the call from my employer that I had been exposed and needed to begin self-monitoring. So that day I moved out. At first it was rough. Being in a hotel by yourself every night was taxing. Having to work more to afford the hotel was the last thing I really wanted to do during all of this. Thankfully with the help of First Responders Children’s Foundation I was able to move to a nicer hotel and avoid too many extra shifts. I call my parents every day to check on them. Making sure they are well and staying inside. Work continues to be stressful. I’ve seen more death in the last month then I have in the other 7 years I’ve been in EMS. But now I’m 100% more comfortable knowing my mother is safer without me coming in and out of the home. I’m extremely grateful for the help the First Responders Children’s Foundation gave me. I was also surprised how simple it was. I filled out the form in the evening, with no expectations. The next morning when I woke up the grant was in my account.

This Emergency Room Nurse risks her health to care for Michiganders afflicted by COVID. She and her husband have four young children at home. His work is considered non-essential, but his commission-based income was essential to meeting their financial needs. Your donations will help this young family keep afloat until the father can start earning again.

A firefighter puts his life on the line to keep South Carolinian families safe. But with schools out and relatives in quarantine, he is struggling to pay the sky-high price of crisis childcare in the midst of this pandemic. Your donations are helping him remain on the frontline of this crisis.

In this two-hero household, a FDNY paramedic commutes an hour to report to his station in the city, where his job is to rescue COVID victims from their homes and bring them to the hospital. His partner was a nurse at a hard-hit hospital, until she came down with COVID. Now that she’s quarantined, your donations help meet their mortgage.