This month FHE Health drew local news coverage when it donated $10,000 to support the training of a second therapy dog for Broward County first responders. The presentation of the $10,000 check occurred in a ceremony at Broward IAFF Union Hall on December 10.
Firefighter Dean Moreno and his yellow lab Oscar, currently Broward County’s only therapy dog, were at the ceremony to formally receive the check on behalf of their local union (Broward Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Local #4321). (Catch Dean and Oscar’s heartwarming story here.)
In addition to representing Local #4321 in the receiving of FHE’s donation, Moreno was honored with the Humanitarian Award from the Fire Chiefs Association of Broward County for his volunteer work with Oscar.
“I am grateful and blessed to be at a point in my life and career to be able to give back,” Moreno said in a tweet later that day.
How #FirstResponderPaws Campaign Far Exceeded 10,000 Mentions
The public ceremony, which featured a surprise appearance by Florida State Representative Robin Bartleman, marked the successful culmination of a social media campaign that FHE Health first launched in September. The goal of that campaign was to raise $10,000 to obtain and train a therapy dog—with the help of The For Paul Foundation—for Broward County first responders.
At its inception, the #FirstResponderPaws campaign vowed to donate $1 for every unique pet photo and mention on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By its end, the campaign had surpassed its target of 10,000 by nearly 20 percent, having generated 11,905 total mentions.
Why Support a Second Therapy Dog for Local First Responders?
Therapy dogs that intervene in crises and respond to people with mental health needs can be very expensive to train. FHE’s contribution represents a sizable portion of that total cost ($25,000) and is worth it, according to Chief Operations Officer Rami Sleiman.
“FHE Health has had the privilege of supporting the mental health of first responders who come from around the country for treatment for PTSD, addiction, and other issues,” Sleiman said in a press release announcing the $10k donation. “We’ve seen the positive difference that even just one visit from a therapy dog can make for these patients during their time in treatment with us. This donation is our way of giving back to the community, both to Broward County first responders and the people they serve.”
Each month FHE Health hosts Oscar and Moreno. They come to greet the newest group of incoming patients in “Shatterproof,” FHE Health’s treatment program for first responders with substance abuse and mental health issues. The specialized program consists of peer support groups, trauma-based therapies, and neuro treatments that restore brain health and function.
Interested in learning more about treatments for trauma and PTSD at FHE Health? We may be able to help. Call us today at 1-888-483-0109.