There are many of us who dreamt of becoming a first responder when we were younger.  Shiny red trucks and badges, lights, horns, excitement, but only a brave few answer the call.  Pat Byrne, a local firefighter, has gone above and beyond to protect our families as well as the brave men and women he works with.

“I think you’re born to be a good firefighter.  You can’t just decide you are one,” said Pat. “It’s in your blood.”

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From their very first day in the academy, firefighters are taught how to manage their level of fear.  Their training and sheer willpower to prevent loss of life at all costs is what helps them through the tough spots, but what happens when relying on training alone isn’t enough?
There are charities involved with helping family members after a loved one has died on the job, but when it comes to helping first responders who are injured, facing illness, or suffering from traumatic events, there is a great lack in resources those individuals can use to find help.  Many times, first responders face disasters that insurance companies and their departments just can’t cover.

Pat Byrne noticed this lack, and because of his insight, the charity Responder’s Rescue was formed.  Their goal is to raise money to help first responders who are in need, both financially and emotionally.

“There are so many people out there that need some sort of help,” said Pat.  Each year, Responder Rescue puts on events, such as the King’s Ball, to raise money and awareness for the cause.  On top of Responder Rescue, another program called HERO: Helping Emergency Responders Overcome has been implemented to provide further assistance to first responders.  To provide private counseling and peer-to-peer help, SSM and Walter’s Walk has teamed up with Responder Rescue, which helps first responders feel comfortable enough to receive the help they need and deserve, without the fear of compromising their jobs.

We see first responders as everyday heroes, but unlike Superman, they aren’t bulletproof. By helping charities like Responder Rescue and HERO, we’re able to give back and help those who are always there to help us.

Pat Byrne has been a firefighter in North St. Louis County for almost 30 years.  Currently, he is stationed where St. Louis City meets St. Louis County at Broadway and Bellefontaine Road.  We at the Rick & Tracy Ellis team want to thank and acknowledge Pat for his life-long dedication to service and for his noble work with Responder Rescue.

For more information about events, how to get involved, or how to receive help from Responder Rescue, please visit www.responderrescue.com.

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