Volume 07 | September 2020
Our hearts are with you, Saint Paul Fire Department
This month, the Saint Paul Fire Department lost three of their firefighters in just one week. We continue to mourn with the SPFD and the families of those hometown heroes who were taken far too early.

Unfortunately, this is another tragic reminder of the big three health risks for firefighters (cancer, cardiac and emotional trauma) and the need to continue to fight for firefighter health together. MnFIRE President George Esbensen talked about this important topic on FOX 9. You can see the story HERE.

On a related note, September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time to focus on raising awareness around suicide and the warning signs to look out for. In the firefighting community, this month could not be more important as we continue to lose four to six active MN firefighters by suicide every year.

Here are some warning signs that could be an indicator that a person is in acute danger and may urgently need help:

  • Talk - Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself; feeling hopeless or having no purpose; feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain; or being a burden to others.
  • Behavior - behaving recklessly or aggressively, withdrawing from loved ones and activities; saying goodbye to people; giving away prized possessions, sleeping too little or too much, and increasing use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Mood - depression, loss of interest, rage, humiliation, anxiety or irritability.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right away: 800-273-8255. For non-urgent mental health support, we urge firefighters to call our peer support HELPLINE and get the mental health help they need (888-784-6634).
U.S. Senator Tina Smith and MN Senator Steve Cwodzinski Visit Fallen Firefighters Memorial with MnFIRE President
U.S. Senator Tina Smith and Minnesota State Senator Steve Cwodzinski commemorated the 343 NYC firefighters who lost their lives during 9/11 alongside MnFIRE president George Esbensen last week. Senator Smith's social media post read:

"Today I visited the Fallen Firefighters Memorial in St. Paul with leaders from the MN Firefighter Initiative. This beautiful memorial, located on the MN State Capitol grounds, honors the sacrifice of the firefighters killed in the line of duty while serving Minnesota communities. 

I’m grateful for the work MN Firefighter Initiative is doing to eliminate disparities in funding for firefighter wellness.

Today, as we honor the sacrifice of the 343 NYC firefighters who lost their lives 19 years ago, let us not forget the hidden dangers faced by our nation’s firefighters and first responders every day."

Thank you for your support of our nation's firefighters and their health, Senator Smith and Senator Cwodzinski!
Firefighters: Now is the Time to Check-in with your Elected Official
The 2021 legislative session begins in just 16 weeks, which means now is the time to contact your elected officials and help us build up support for the Hometown Heroes Assistance Program (HHAP).

This year it's been clearer than ever how much our hometown heroes put their own personal health on the line to take care of ours. The COVID-19 has only exacerbated the health issues that continue to afflict our hometown heroes day-in and day-out.

Call your legislator and find out how they feel about the Hometown Heroes Assistance Program. The most powerful way to convince our legislators of the need for the HHAP is to hear it from a firefighter themselves.

Firefighters, survivor families, and supporters: 2020 is our year. Let's get the HHAP across the finish line as soon as possible. Countless lives depend on it.
Second Annual MnFORE Golf Tournament a Success!
Pulling off our annual golf tournament was definitely more of a challenge this year as we grappled with a worldwide pandemic, but we're happy to report it was a huge success! We had a great event on September 8th with nearly 100 golfers and lots of fantastic sponsorships at Bearpath Golf & Country Club in Eden Prairie. 

THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support of our hometown heroes. Save the date now for next year's MnFORE tournament on May 24, 2021.
MnFIRE is a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to providing education and support for firefighters and their families with regard to cardiac, emotional trauma and cancer. For more information, visit mnfireinitiative.com. Call our 24-hour peer support line if you are
ever experiencing a crisis.