Brandon Griffith is the Founder & CEO of Griffith Blue Heart 501.c(3) Nonprofit which specializes in preparing, training, and equipping law enforcement for time-sensitive medical emergencies like cardiac arrest, life-threatening bleeding, overdose reversals, drownings, and excited delirium. Brandon is a deputy sheriff for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona, a multi-disciplined instructor, a former EMT, and an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest survivor. Brandon is a founding board member of the Arizona Cardiac Arrest Survivors group, and he sits on the Arizona Department of Health Services Heart Disease & Stroke work group. Brandon has been honoured to be awarded the Heroism award and countless life-saving awards, recognized by both the Phoenix Business Journal and Citizen CPR Foundation 40 Under 40 programs and is a recipient of Congressional Recognition for his actions as a police officer and his life-saving programs. His proudest accomplishment in life is marrying his high school sweetheart and fathering two incredible children.
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Hi everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of Event During the Badge podcast. I'm host Jerry Dean Lund, and I don't want you to miss an upcoming episode. So please hit that subscribe button. And while your phone's out, please do me a favor and give us a review on iTunes or our Apple Podcast. It says, Hey, this podcast has a great message and we should send it out to more people.
So please take that 30 seconds to a minute to do that review, and just maybe by doing that, it'll push this up into someone's podcast feed that really needs this message. Hello, fellow first responders, and those of you that have close ties to the first responder world, welcome back to season five. I'm so excited for this season.
It's going to be better than all four seasons. Right? Before we jump into this next episode, I want to talk to you about you. I want to know, do you feel like you're not getting the best out of yourself, that you're struggling in your close and personal relationships? You have that anxious and overwhelming feeling because your home life and your work life balance is outta sorts.
Do you feel like maybe you're working on your mental health and it's just not going anywhere? You're not getting the results you really want? I thought that myself before, and I want to help you with that because I don't want you to be stuck in that feeling. I know how that feels too. So I have an offer for you.
You can reach out to me for a free 15 minute discovery call, no obligations. We just jump on the phone chat for about 15 minutes and we try to figure out how to get you back on track and get the life you deserve. You can do that by reaching out to me on my Instagram or on my Facebook page. And for the Instagram handle, it's Jerry Fire and Fuel, or Enduring the Badge podcast.
Or you just go straight to the website and during the badge podcast and there's a little coaching tab there, and you can book a call there. I'm gonna start you off with a very powerful story. Brandon Griffith, a law enforcement officer, seeming to be at the top of his career and in peak physical condition when he suffered a full arrest at his home.
Brandon was work for 16 and a half minutes before they brought him back. His wife was doing CPR on him until law enforcement officers arrived, and then the paramedics arrived. Brandon is gonna tell a story and what he has done with that trauma in his life and how he's going to help save other lives by a program that he's implementing with AEDs and training law enforcement officers to an entirely different level of caregiving.
Let's jump right into this episode and let's learn from Brandon on what he's doing. So my very special guest today is Brandon Gertha. Hey Brandon. Tell the audience a little bit about yourself. Hey Jerry. Thank you so much for having me on. Yeah, yeah. My name is Brandon Griffith. I've been in law enforcement for over a dozen years.
I started my career back in, started my law enforcement journey back in 2008. I currently serve as a deputy sheriff as their in the reserve capacity for Pinal County Sheriff's Office, and I run a group of Blue Heart nonprofit where I'm a founder and CEO I got an incredible wife and two amazing kids. Yeah, that's awesome.
So let's kind of dive right down into like, why did you start the Blue Heart nonprofit? You know, it, it's something I never anticipated myself doing. I never envisioned ever leaving law enforcement. My goal was to become a street cop, get out there, become a SWAT operator, and do some instructional stuff and kind of write out my, my 20 years and retire.
But sure, you know, life throws a lot of stuff at you cardiac arrest has had a pretty big impact on my life. I mean, even before I got in law enforcement, the first time I did C P R on somebody, I was only in high school. Oh, wow. It's, I had a a, I lost a buddy in college to it. I had an uncle drop from cardiac arrest and, you know, it, it even took my life for a brief moment and I, I gotta tell you, it was, I was 26 years old.
I wish I could tell you I was doing something cool. I wish I could say I was in like a foot pursuit or a fight, but like, like four to five cases might happen at home and mm-hmm. , my wife makes fun of me cuz I've been shot at, I've been in knife flights. I got pinned under a vehicle on a water rescue briefly, but I died at home reading a book.
Like you just can't make it up. . Yeah. So I, I'm sitting in my den reading with her while she's doing some work on the pa on the computer, put the book down, said, Hey, I'm gonna take the dog out. I took two steps towards my door and it hit me like a freight train. Have you ever had someone jump out and scare you? You know, when your heart skips that beat? Yeah.
Imagine that feeling nonstop to the point where you cannot recover from it. So I, I'm sitting there and even though I collapsed within about a second and a half, everything just slowed down. I experienced time distortion. So everything, it felt like an eternity to me. I just knew something was not right.
I felt this weird feeling in my chest. I started to bear down and I could feel my jugular veins descending, and I knew it wasn't right. I, I couldn't breathe. I wasn't able to, I wasn't able to do combat breathing to slow it down. I was trying. But when you're in ventricular fibrillation, there's no blood being pumped to the rest of your body.
So yeah. Your lungs physically cannot expand with oxygen. So I was pretty much in a state of convulsion in agonal breathing, trying to force myself to breathe. When my wife hears this, turns around to look at me, and she sees that my face is the darkest purple she'd ever seen. We graduated an e M T program together.
So she already knew what, what was going on. She pulled the phone out, called nine one one, put it on speaker and dropped it. I fell backwards into my bookshelf, breaking every tear on the way down. And she tried to, she tried to brace me, but, you know, I'm six foot four. She's above five foot three. So I toppled right over her.
Oh, she put my head, I put my head right through the wall, and as a land on my hands, hands on my knees, I'm looking at my hallway and I'm starting to experience tunnel vision. And if you've been through critical stress incidents, you know, it happens quite frequently to first responders, but it's not, it's not normal tunnel vision.
We have trouble focusing on certain things, and it's kind of a blur. Yeah. This was a dark, dark purple, and I'm looking in my hallway and it's, it, it's almost a fluttering out. And it's like, it's zeroing down. Now that I've talked to other physicians, they've explained to me that, hey, that was the blood leaving your brain and your ocular cavities.
You were, you were, your eyes were physically shutting down because of a lack of blood flow. You were watching yourself die. And here in this moment, I'm an E M T, I'm a cop. I've done cpr, I don't know how many times, but there is nothing I can do to save myself in this moment. And that's, that's a feeling to help Usni.
I don't wish on anybody. So I dropped dad right there. My wife rolls me on my back. She starts working on me. She does CPR for the first four, four and a half minutes. She has to stop, unlock the door for the police officer. He comes in, she's holding the dog back. He jumps on my chest and does a phenomenal job.
He was not equipped with an a e D, but he did a great job of doing hands-on C P R. He worked on me for several minutes until fire and EMS got there of a nine and a half minute mark. According to the log, they pulled my body in the living room where they got more room to work. They IOD drilled me through my leg. They started pumping all kinds of fun drugs into me and oh two and doing all their advanced life support stuff.
All in all, I was medically dead for 16 and a half minutes before they were able to get, uh, pulse back. So, according to my wife and the crew, I sat up, started pushing guys off me. I don't remember any of this part, but my wife said, she grabbed me by the face and said, don't leave me. I said, I won't before collapsing backwards.
And that I know for sure that from that moment, I don't remember anything else from inside the house, but I remember feeling the sway of the gurney and I could hear the firefighters walking on the rocks in my front yard as they loaded me into ambulance. So I remember every intimate detail.
Even coming back, like the, the pain, I mean, my head with every heartbeat felt like, someone was hate hitting my head with the sledgehammer. I, I saw the white flashes from everything. I mean, just my extremities hadn't had proper blood flow. So that pins and needles feeling, oh yeah, steroids. My chest had been caved in.
I got blood on my mouth from when they put the OPA in. Like, I remember all that. But the next five days are an absolute blur in and outta the hospital, running all these tests trying to figure out why I died. I, I'm waking up, I'm passing back out. I'm seeing family members, I'm seeing friends. I had long conversations that I have no recollection of.
They, they do all these tests and there's no answer. They, they have no idea why I died. Wow. There's nothing wrong with my heart. No structural issues, no genetic issues, no plumbing complications. So I come to find out it's quite normal. A lot of young athletic males experience cardiac arrest and there's no diagnosis for it.
I mean, we lose 30,000 kids per year under the age of 18. So they put a defibrillator in my chest and now I'm like, well, I just made my SWAT team two weeks ago. What, when can I get back to work? And they're like, whoa, whoa. We don't know if you can go back to work. And there was, I had to, I had to fight just to keep my job at this point.
And it just, right, it kinda rollercoaster from there. Long story short, after I returned to the field, I realized how unprepared law enforcement really is for resuscitation emergencies. Yeah. And that's when I started to, I started kind of a side thing. I was, cause I was a full-time police officer, so I was kind of consulting.
I was kind of helping and doing some training here and there for other agencies trying to help 'em implement lifesaving programs. But it just kept growing. We saw a real need. Law enforcement is so neglected when it comes to resuscitation training. We're the Yeah, we're the redheaded step kid right in the middle.
Right. So we don't have, we don't work with our medical directions and have the same programs that support the fire and e m s do, but we're also not protected by the Good Samaritan laws. So there's no, we're kind of in the, we're that in between, we're required first responders, but we have no protocols or insight or systems of care.
So we had to create programs from scratch. And eventually that became Griffith Blue Heart nonprofit, which I now run today. And I ended up dropping to reserve to run the nonprofit full-time. So that's kind of how I, I got into it. But there's obviously a lot more too we can dive into. But that's, that's how I got to where I am right now.
Yeah. That's quite a story. I couldn't even imagine, uh, going through that. Um, I just personally, like did you feel the shocks and things like that and all, you know, any medication changes? No. Uh, so I, I was on the other side. I was dead. I mean, I, they say there's a lot that goes into near death studies and experiences and there's tons of publications out there. And this is something that's absolutely fascinated me. Yeah. When I worked with University of Arizona and the Arizona Department of Health Services, I ended up meeting and working with some near death researchers, including some from across the globe, like in the UK and Canada.
And it's something that's absolutely fascinating when you look about what happens in death to the body, to the cellular structure, to, to the way that you can perceive things. So there's a lot of people that say, you know, in the first seven minutes of death, it's still possible for your brain and your endocrine system to process certain chemicals, to have neurons firing that there's a, all those stories you hear when someone says, you know, I floated above the surgical table.
I saw my life flash before my eyes. Yeah. Um, I, I could see the accident seeing most of those people when you talk to them, they were resuscitated in that first seven or so minutes. When you talk to people that were dead longer than that, that time, from what I've been told, the brain cannot process. Your brain should not be firing neurons without oxygen, without everything else.
Your body can't break down those chemicals like dimethyl trione or cortisol or no epinephrine. All those different things that your body, these chemicals your bodies make, they can't give you like that, that those hallucinations or dreamlike state from what I understand. Right. So it, after that seven minutes, there's no, there, there's not much out there when it comes to the data and research.
So I was there for 16 and a half and I, once I collapsed in my hallway, once I saw everything go black, I didn't have any recollection of anything going on in my body. I couldn't feel the compressions, I couldn't feel the shocks, I couldn't feel medications, I couldn't feel the needles. I couldn't feel the O two.
None of that happened while I was there. I was dead. I was on the other side. I did have an experience on the other side. I don't normally talk about publicly, but I definitely had an experience where I was told to, to earn my second chance. And it's, it's all I am writing a book about it. I will be sharing, I will be sharing it eventually, but right now, cool.
It's, I haven't talked much about it publicly on that side. But it wasn't until I, I was on the other side having this conversation and I'm, I'm starting to see my surroundings and whatnot where I got a shock. And when I got, when I was brought back and resuscitated, that's when it was like someone just flipped the light switch.
I was back in my body from the other side just instantly. That's when I felt the pain. Cause when I was over there, there was no pain, there was no anxiety, there was no stress, there was no concept of, of any fear, nothing. And it was the best way I ever experienced that was the most relaxed, calm, and peace.
Peace. But I could ever explain. And that's when I was with somebody I was speaking, but not like you and I are, was more, in feelings, intuition, I don't wanna say telepathic or e s p, but more like that. I'm having a conversation without using words and just complete understanding. And while I'm having that experience, there's no fear, there's none of that anxiety until I got back in my body.
That's when I saw, I i, my head felt like the, the sledgehammer and then the white flashes and everything else on my chest. And I could taste the blood in my mouth and I could feel that tingling from my, you know, if you've been tased before, you know what that feels like afterwards. Like imagine that with a lot more amps on the, on the defibrillator.
So it, once I was back there, I felt everything. But it was the next five days where I was just in and out of consciousness while they're running tests and not emotional rollercoaster. You know, why did I die? Is this gonna happen again? Yeah. Well, how are we gonna pay for this? You know, do I even have a job? I worked my ass off to become a cop and an f t o and a d t instructor and like, where do I go from here? There, there, there was no playbook, there was no survivor organizations I reached out to, didn't have any resources.
I couldn't find any first responders that were able to successfully go back to work. So I had to talk to researchers and bring in experts to challenge my, the, the accreditation board and challenge my, my my workers so I can go back to work. And it was just a, it was a lengthy process. Right, right. Yeah. There's, there's so much, so many questions I have.
Please Amy, that's, that's quite an experience to, to go through. I, I mean, I couldn't even imagine going through an experience like that. But I guess first off, like, how are you doing now? Like, ha have you ever, is that defibrillator ever kicked in or anything like that? So I, I had one incident right after my cardiac arrest after they implanted it.
I wasn't even discharged from the hospital yet when it gave me a shock. But now there's some dispute about it. Cuz there's something that I recently found out of a couple years ago in the survivor's circle. Something called Phantom Shocks, where the body can actually experience that after receiving several defibrillations, your body can actually go into that.
So not like I, I don't wanna call it p t s or something like that, like a flashback, but your body and your muscles have that memory of what's going on. So there was no record when they hooked me back up to it. But I was with my wife and I said, something's not right. Go get the nurse. And before she left the room, I was blacking out and passing.
I passed out and it was just like, ba that horse kick jolted up my arms went forward, like that horse kick in my chest, the white flash. I saw that pain. I mean, I, I definitely, I, I was shocked and I knew I was shocked. And I came back in and the nurse was checking me on. My wife sees me and she's like, what? They knew something wasn't right and this happened in front of them.
So when they called the rep to come in, he, he hooks up his monitor and stuff and then there's nothing registered, nothing showing up. So he's like, I don't think so. Maybe you think you broke through it. And I was like, this is kind of send mother, like, come in here telling me, I didn't just get shocked. Who is this guy? And I, I can tell you that I was pissed.
Cause I'm like, maybe is this, does this machine even work? If it, if it's not registering when it shocks me, can I rely on this thing? And that's, that was my first taste of the A I C D industry and what it means to have an implant medical device and what my future was going to look like. So since then, no. I've been very fortunate.
I have not had another cardiac arrest. I've never had another episode. I've never collapsed. I work with survivors all around the world that live with that fear, that have been saved multiple times, you know, 26 times in a row in front of the family members, you know, a year later or six months later, whenever it is the ticking time bomb.
It could happen right now while we're having this conversation, I don't know, I don't think it's gonna happen. I think I have less than like a one or 2% chance based on the, the current data. But, no, to answer your question, I have not been shocked. Again, they never found a diagnosis. My heart is extremely healthy.
We've broken my blood down to chso levels looking for it. And that's where there's a lot of misconceptions. And there's, there's a lot of stigmas when it comes to heart disease. Cuz the, the cardiac community has failed. They have failed to educate the public. They've failed to get people to care about it.
It is our number one cause of death. We 17 million people globally each year. Last year, 690,000 Americans died from heart disease more than covid, more than cancer, more than firearms, more than opiate. But if I say Narcan, everyone knows what that is. Right. You say cancer, everyone knows about it.
You say cardiac arrest, like, oh, you had a heart attack. No, I did not have a heart attack. heart disease is like this umbrella term, right? Yeah. And it encompasses everything from, heart failure to heart attacks, known as myocardial infarctions, cardiac arrest. And there's big differences between all of 'em.
One's like, you know, especially with cardiac arrest and heart attacks, one is a plumbing issue. That's the ones you see on TV where there's usually an older guy who's breathing heavy, my arm hurts. And they, they're sweating profusely and they're white. Those are 95% survivable. That's when there's a blockage and a section of the heart.
So the heart is not getting adequate blood flow. Yeah. Cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction. Right. Imagine you plug in the Christmas tree and it shorts out. That's what it is. It's lights out, it's instant. The person collapses. I mean, we just had,the Denmark soccer player, Eric, what's his name? Uh, Christiansen, whoever it was that from Denmark, collapsed on the field.
That's what cardiac arrest looks like. They're perfectly fine. They're walking and then they just collapse. They're not breathing. There's no blood flow to the brain. That's what I experience and that's what so many young athletes experience all the time. Yeah. Yeah. That'll be interesting to see if they ever come up with a, a determination of why that seems to happen.
Like optimal, optimal shape technically. Right. Yeah. Well there are several, uh, electrophysiological diseases that are diagnosable. Your wolf, Parkinson's white, your long QT syndromes, your bana. Like there are, there are plenty of incidences where they can find why it happens. Sometimes it's a, misfiring, kinji fiber or maybe it's that way.
Or maybe there's a problem with your heart. There are, there are causations in are diagnosis, which can be managed and treated. But there's a lot of people like me that have what's called idiopathic. It means the doctors are idiots, couldn't figure it out. There's no diagnosis. So there's a lot of cases like that.
And that's the frustrating part. I, I almost wish sometimes that I had a, a diagnosis, whether it be myopathy Sure. That, so, you know, Hey, why did this happen? What do I do to avoid it? Can I take medication? What do I, when you have answers, that's one thing. But there's a lot of survivors. I got, I have professional athletes that reach out to me.
I have first responders. I got, you know, 12 year old, 16 year old kids that are perfectly healthy to call me and say that wanna talk because I'm, I've been in the industry for a while and yeah. Trying to advise 'em that, look, sometimes there's no answer. We may never, you may never know why you died. And that's, it didn't hit me until I, I didn't care every day I walked out the door in uniform.
I knew I I might not go home. There's been plenty of times where I've been shot at. There's been plenty of times where you almost didn't make it home. Right. But it wasn't until I had my own kids that I started to get terrified. I was like, did I, we don't know what caused this. Did I unknowingly pass on some genetic mutation to my son or my daughter? Do I have to rely on a complete stranger to save them someday? Yeah.
Would they be by themselves if they have a cardiac arrest? And that's, that's the shit that keeps me up at night. That's the one that, that, that eats at me. And it wasn't until I had kids that I really had a full grasp. Cause I didn't care what happened to me. But once it came to them, that's where the hairs and neck, neck start going up.
. Right, right. Yeah. That's, and when you're sitting in the hospital, you know, for these, what was it, five days? Is that what you said? I was in the hospital for five days. Correct. Yeah. Trying to figure out what's going on. Like how, how did you cope with that? Like that's five days in a hospital is a long time.
Especially to not have, probably, I'm assuming you didn't have a lot of answers and you're just, there's a lot of worry and probably whole lot of other emotions going on. I mean, how, how did you, how'd you and your wife handle that? It, it, it's a rollercoaster of emotions. And one, um, you're on top of the world, you're happy.
You're I'm alive. I was given a second chance. And when you start really looking at the numbers, you're like, you know, a thousand Americans are gonna die today from cardiac arrest that aren't gonna get the second chance that I did. And that's something I do not take for granted. And that's, having that second chance was one thing.
So you're happy about that, having that being on top of the world. But there's also things like cardiac depression that come through where you, your body let you down. Here I am. I just, I just made my SWAT team. I'm in great shape. Yeah. I I got that, that alpha male, that machismo that, you know, what, what did I do wrong? How did I do this? Did I, was I not hydrated enough? Was I under too much stress? But you start going through all the why's and then you also have the, is this gonna happen again? Am I gonna drop dead? How, what do, what does it mean to live with a medical device and planted in you? Can I even go back to work so that that roller coaster comes up? You, how am I gonna pay for this? Do I even have a job tomorrow? Yeah.
What what do I do from here? It's an absolute roller coaster. You're going from ups and downs to sobbing like a little girl. And I, uh, I'm not ashamed to admit that it was, it, it was really tough. But it really didn't hit me until after I was discharged from the hospital. Cause when you're wheeled out in that wheelchair and they send you home, there's nothing, there's no, there was no resources.
There was no pamphlet. There was no, Hey, you might have another cardiac arrest. Hey, you might have medication side effects. Hey, you might be feeling like this. Oh, by the way, your wife that watched you drop dead in front of her was lifeless for 16 and a half minutes. Might have some issues with what happened too.
Yeah. You might wanna check on your family. Uh, all these, all these different things. There was no warning. There was no prep. I was literally slapping the back and told how lucky I was and Hey, I can't leave. You're alive now. Get out there and kick me out the door. And that was it. Now I'm like, well, shit, what, what do I do now? There was no playbook.
And every time I tried to find like a survivor group or anything to try to get some answers, it was like, oh, come, come and share your story and help us sell AEDs and go speak at the school about CPR r And it was all about, it's all about these other programs. And it was all about monetizing my story to make somebody else money or to sell their products.
It had nothing to do with actually giving resources to my wife. To me. Yeah. To, hey, this is what you might be experiencing. And I, I was a little bitter in the beginning cause all the survivor organizations I contact, they, there was nothing for it. It was like, we wanna come share your story and do like a kumbaya circle.
And me being a first responder, I wanted to forget I even had a cardiac arrest at this point. I, I just wanted to go back to work. I just wanted to have a job. I just wanted to go back to chasing bad guys and kicking the door. That that's all I wanted to do. Here are five tips. If you're feeling stuck in your life still, one, take full responsibility of your life.
Don't be that victim anymore. You have to get past that. Number two, praise and enjoy the process. Focus on the journey. When things get tough, focus on the end where you're headed and why you're headed there. If you truly know those little things are not gonna knock you off your track. Number three, become anti-fragile.
Once again. Don't let those little things knock you down. Learn a breathing process though you can get through them and not get stuck in that moment. Number four, cut out the crappy friends that are sucking the life outta you because you can't excel if you're around a bunch of crappy friends that are not gonna help you excel.
And number five, you need to cultivate grit and perseverance. Knowing your journey and having it written down and having a destination is going to keep you on track and help you with that grit and perseverance on getting you to where you want to be. Now let's jump our back into this episode. And I couldn't find anything.
So I mean, that, that was when it really hit me in the next six months while I was battling, trying to return to work, trying to figure out what it means and what I was gonna experience and how often I have to get this device checked. Is it gonna happen again? Cuz you're at the highest risk of having another cardiac arrest the first three to six months afterwards.
So this whole time, my, my wife is terrified to leave me home alone. She's got, you know, my, my SWAT team leader was coming and babysitting me when she was at work. Sometimes I got other cops and I'm like, I don't need a babysitter. Especially my swat team leader like . But there, there were definite times where I would have flutters and palpitations and I'd be like, oh shit.
Here, here it goes again. You start feeling I have to sit down. Cause I'm like, I'm not gonna collapse again and risk busting my face open on my countertop. And there's, there's a lot that went with it. And then when I was successful in returning to work, that's when there was also a whole nother mental rollercoaster.
How do I, how do I prove to my guys that I'm not some fractal China doll? And I had to out the bench, I had to outfight, I had to prove myself. And it took a while to get all the jokes. So I, I don't care about jokes. But it took a while for guys to not treat me like there was something wrong with me. That stigma, can you do this with your heart condition, bro? I don't, I don't have a heart condition.
There's nothing wrong with my heart. And I would have to prove myself and doing, going, doing mud runs and five Ks and mountain biking and just being like, , you know what I, that was, that was kind of the state that I was in. But yeah, I still wasn't in a state where I was processing very healthy when it happened.
Now I was drinking a lot. I was, uh, I, I was burying things down and really swallowing things. And at the time I, I, I was selfish man. It was about me. It was about me having, getting my job back and being who I was. And I wasn't like, you know, Hey, how is my wife doing? How is the rest of my family coping with the fact that I died and came back? And how are they coping with all this stuff? And it's, it's a family journey.
Yeah. Yeah. I was dead on the floor when my wife was going through this. She was the one that had experienced the trauma in this incident. And I wasn't taking care of her needs. I wasn't taking care of her at this point. So many times, her spouses or family members are survivors. Just get left behind. And that's when it, it wasn't until I started trying to get back to work that I realized that I needed to work on myself too.
I was, I was at kind of a dark spot. And when I was trying to return to work, I ended up talking to this, uh, cardiac arrest researcher. And one of the guys that created hands-on CPR r he helped me return back to work, Dr. Ben Balrow. And he said, Hey, I want you to come speak at this medical thing. I'm like, ah, I'm a dumb street cop.
You don't want me in front of people. I'll be dropping F bombs or something. Like, you don't, you don't want me there. And he goes, no, I really want you to comment. I said, okay, I'll come, but you don't want me speaking. And I showed up and some other survivor was there talking and I saw the way people were reacting.
And I was like, all right, I guess, I guess I can open up. So I opened up and I shared my story that day. And I don't know, man, it was, it was healing. And afterwards, this, the 16 year old girl on her parents came up and were just like, Hey, you know, I'm so-and-so. I've got hyper. I got this myopathy insurance won't pay for my device.
I'm, she was basically waiting for the day she was gonna die and hope that someone was with her when it happened. Hope they were prepared, hope they had an a e d insurance, was kind of neglecting her. And she was asking me what death was like, what I experienced. And you know, we talked for a little while and she was so comforted.
Her and her parents gave me a big hug. And I, I saw the healing power in that. And I was like, you know what? There is something to this. I can't make a difference. I can't help people with just sharing this story, but not, not to monetize it and sell other people's stuff to make a difference. And that's when Right.
I started connecting with other survivors and we created Arizona cardiac arrest survivors. And we started giving them resources and bringing an expert to talk about, you know, the legal complications. You know, how do I protect my rights under ada, under hipaa. And because my employer, my, I was an email the second I dropped dead and everybody knew about my personal information people.
And that's where all the stigmas came in. Well, he can't return to, he's got heart condition. There's something wrong with him. Yeah. There's all this and all the, I had to, it, it created a mountain I had to climb just to get back to work. And then when I had to get back to work, I had, it was a false peak. I had to go to the next summit just to, just to keep on that journey.
And there, there, there's so much to it man. And it just kind of, it kind of compounded and, but being able to share my story and being able to work on things, it's led to a lot of amazing opportunities. You know, I've been able to testify before the Senate and House of Representatives. I passed a CPR in schools bill in 2016.
So now in Arizona, every student that at that graduates high school has to learn CPR as a graduation requirement. America Heart Association brought me in to testify for that one on lobby for it. And it was, it's been a great experience. It's been, so many lives have been saved through the programs and it just kind of, yeah.
Helped me develop my nonprofit and develop what we're doing now to help cops save lives. Yeah. Before we jump into that nonprofit, I, I'm just curious about, uh, your wife's experience. Like going through something this traumatic when watching, you know, her husband die and, and then, you know, I I couldn't really imagine like I've done countless cpr, um, you know, off duty even, you know, and just how that impact her.
Like, I, I just couldn't imagine. That's the hard part is know, it's so many times as first responders, we become complacent and our spouse has become complacent. How many times have you heard them say, oh, if anything ever happens, my, you know, my wife's a cop, or my husband's a firefighter. He'll take care of that.
Like, they become so comfortable in our skillset set. We have all these plans and preparations for what happens if, you know, we're out at the supermarket and there's an active shooter. What, what do you tell the dispatcher? What is daddy wearing? You'd come up with all these beating plans for the rose.
But the reality is heart disease is the number one killer in first responders for everyone talks about the suicides, everyone talks about the mental health. Everyone talks about violent encounters in vehicle accidents, but heart disease is the number one cause of death. And there was a study done at Harvard Medical that shows that that first responders are at a 70 times higher risk of heart disease than the general public.
And we have a 15 to 20 year less life expectancy than the public we serve. Yeah. But we don't prepare our families for that. We're not preparing them mentally for, Hey, what happens when daddy has a stroke at the dinner table? What happens when mommy clutches her chest and collapses? What do we do? Do we have, do do you have an ad in your home, Jeff? No.
Nope. Is your wife prepared and your kids prepared to do so? Overdoses. That's that's where it's at. We've become too complic complacent. Yeah. We're, we're the ones that respond to the calls. We're used to putting Narcan in people's noses. We're used to applying turn. Kids we're used to apply in tourniquets.
We're used to doing CPR countless times when that mom hands us that blue baby and says, save my child screaming and crying. We've all mentally prepared for that. Yeah. But what happens when it's your kid? What happens when your kid drops or playing basketball in the front yard? Are you, are you prepared for it when you have to do it on your own family member and it just compounds it when it's somebody you never love.
And that's something that, you know, my wife had been an E M t she'd just been accepted into medical school. She hadn't started yet. Oh wow. But you know, th that part of it, there was, there was a lot to process with that as well. You know, while doing my research and getting the e m s trips and get, figuring out how many times I was shocked and doing all my research for my own mental health.
You know, I asked her, I said, I wanna get a copy of the 9 1 1 tape. And she said, no, she, that's the, that's the one thing she's ever asked me. She said, I don't ever wanna hear it. I don't want you to hear it. I don't want that thing to, to disappear. I don't ever want to hear what I sounded like in that moment.
And I absolutely had to respect that. And I've never heard the 9 1 1 tape. I've never asked for, we never did a public records requests, probably gone by now. But I mean, that's something she never wanted to be a part of. She, she doesn't speak publicly about it. She doesn't talk openly, at it's something that we process.
She lets me b blabber my mouth. But I mean, this is, this is, this is her story. I was down the floor. She was the one that was living through it. She's the one that saved my life. She's my hero. And yeah, there's a lot of scars that go through that. You know, every time I, I'd snore or breathe funny at night, she'd hit me to make sure I was okay and wasn't going back into cardiac arrest for a while.
Then it was, it was scary to leave me alone. Can he drive, can he go back to work And let alone being a police officer is dangerous enough. Being a police officer that might collapse at any moment. That was, yeah, it wasn't gonna happen. There was so many unknowns. And here I'm almost 10 years without a single incident, it's probably never gonna happen.
The chances are next to nothing. But at the time, we didn't know any of this six months out. I was at the highest. We're gonna, I was strapping back up and going out to the field and that was cause of my own stubbornness. And we, we had to do our own research, man. So she sat there while I was testing, you know, does my radio interfere with my medical device? What happens when I get tased? I couldn't get any answers.
So I tased myself with my medic. I mean the, these, these, I'm an impulsive video, I'll tell you that right off the bat. So she had to not only endure everything that we had to do, but she had to endure that journey too. Watching her husband go through all this stuff and it, it couldn't have been easy. Yeah. And it was a rollercoaster for her.
And you know, we've had each other, we have a great sense of humor. Humor. We make jokes about it all the time. But it, it's having each other and being there for each other has been, uh, so valuable. Man. There's no way I could have done this without her. And there's no way she could have gone through without me.
And it was very much about supporting each other through all of it. Yeah. I, I could see we're listening to the phone call would be very, uh, disturbing. I could, I could see that. And I, I could definitely, probably a good thing not to, to listen to. Cause boy, the all those sounds and stuff like that would probably bring back a lot of, lot of, you know, trauma for it is.
And, you know, just, just a little things like, you know, I, going back to my den and seeing my bookshelf shattered and seeing where I put my head through the walls as a reminder and it's just, you know, it all, all those different sounds, all those different pictures that mean that that's burned in her brain forever.
Yeah. Uh, I, I can still see the look on her face when I looked at her knowing something was wrong. It's burned in my brain. And just being able to, looking out on my hall and watching myself die and knowing there's nothing I could do like that, that always hit me. But her telling me not to leave her and me saying, I won't, man, that's still, that still gives me to this day.
I mean, waking up in the hospital to her, I could still see the hospital lights behind her head, almost like a halo. But her telling me that what happened, you died and you came back and she probably like the 17th time she told me, cuz I just kept collapsing and waking back up and what happened? Why am I in here? And she told me again and I collapsed and sent me that whole, the whole process.
But I, the first thing I remember from in the hospital was seeing her beautiful face with tears in her eyes tumble what happened. And smiling. And it just, it's a lot, it's a lot to swallow. It's a lot to, to go through for, for anybody. Especially for, uh, a young couple before we even had kids and going into this journey together in law enforcement, her just starting medical school that fall.
Like it was a lot. Yeah. Yeah. Let's talk about your nonprofit. Cause you've, you're out there changing, you're changing, you're changing lives. Just not, excuse me, by speaking, but you're actually physically out there doing the work so officers can be better prepared to save lives. Yeah. So our, our mission is to prepare training and equip law enforcement for time sensitive medical emergencies.
And that means you can't just give 'em a training class and smack 'em on the button and say, get out there. You can't just toss AEDs in the back of a patrol car and hope a system works. And that's where so many programs have failed around our country. Uh, you'll get AEDs put 'em in the back of the patrol car, but there's not a rest the system of care to support it.
They're not even dispatched to it. Or they didn't sustain it, they didn't budget for it, or some of the cops didn't even have the competence in doing it. So when I started looking at it, I, I got back to the field and I started realizing, I'm like, man, I'm doing c CPR all the time. I'm doing, I'm putting tourniquets on people.
I'm doing Narcan, I'm pulling kids outta pools. We got excited delirium. We got all these crazy things that are happening in our community. Why aren't we better prepared for this? Why don't we have AEDs? Why don't we have, why don't we do good training? Our training is shit. We're lucky if we get like a leftover PowerPoint.
Know, here's a, here's a two hour C p r refresher every one to five years. And it's like, it's not made for law enforcement. You go into class and it's like a PowerPoint, uh, somebody at the airport and it's like you call 9 1 1, you get cops don't pay attention to, we don't care about it. We go in there and they have these little mannequins on tables.
You do all of, you know, 20, 30 compressions and they go, Hey, you're certified. Get out there. That's, that's your training. We're not focusing on high performance. We're not focusing on stress and occupation. We're not focusing on what we can do. But we're on scene first 90% of the time. And it's, I started looking at the numbers and I'm like, you know what, most municipal agencies are on scene in the first one to four and a half minutes.
But their fire and e m s counterparts, according to N F P A, have a goal of six and a half minutes. None of 'em are at that. If you actually do data requests in your area, most of the time they're not getting on scene for eight to 18 minutes. Right. And it's not their fault. It's just the way the system is set up. For, for example, when I had my cardiac arrest, I lived half a mile away from a fire station.
They were on another call. So the next closest unit got dispatched, they were on another call. So the next closest unit got dispatched. So it took them nine and a half minutes to get me. They were hauling doing everything they were supposed to. But the system is not, it's not set up for success. Meanwhile, you've got agencies with police officers, you got a whole army of people that are untapped and underutilized.
I've got, you got a squad of 3, 6, 8, 12, however many people you have that are patrolling and four out of five cases happen in the home. So all these programs focus on bystander C P R and public access to fibrillation, which is great. Sure. I'm all about yeah. Have, have eighties and sports arenas and airports and everything.
Hell yeah. Absolutely. Be prepared. You know, I think every business should have to have one, but four to five cases happen in the home. People don't have ad's in their home. People aren't buying them. They're taking this seriously. So what's the next best option if you call 9 1 1 for help, are you gonna wait eight to 15 minutes when you have for every minute you wait to start cpr, the chance to survive goes down 10%.
So if you're waiting eight, nine minutes for fire and e ems, charity had 80, 90% chance of death. Yeah. Yeah. But that cop who's around the corner from his DV finishing up paperwork, or the cop that's responded to a stolen bicycle, the uh, in the neighborhood, there's a block away. And they can respond quite rapidly.
And so many times I, how many times you've been on scene doing c p, like, when is fire gonna get here? Like, you're just, you're waiting for him cuz you know it's gonna be a while. If we can just get them the lifesaving tools they need with high quality training, we can significantly impact how hospital survival.
We, we've done it. We've quadrupled survival in the cities we've worked with. So looking at the numbers, I, I knew I had to do something. And at the time I tried to partner with a e d manufacturers, I tried to partner with cardiac community and everyone's got their own agenda. Everyone's got their own thing.
Yeah. The cardiac industry tried to work with law enforcement since the early nineties. It has not been successful at all. They don't speak cop cops don't care. They already have too many other things. Traditionally, cops have not been thought for medical response. Right. Yeah. I mean, even what, 10 years ago we weren't carrying tourniquets.
We weren't carrying Narcan. Right, right. There was a lot of pushback even when they started doing those programs. Like, we're not medics. We're not carrying pharmaceuticals. We're not carrying this. What am my, uh, what am my a tactical medic now? Like Yeah, cops there wanted nothing to do with it. But the reality is we have more saves from bleeding control and overdose reversals and fire and m s combined.
This is the next stage of the evolutionist. Getting cops, AEDs. I can teach in Orangutang how to put two stickers on someone's chest and press a butt. Right? Yeah. It's cop proof. It's very easy. But they need a system of care. We need medical direction, we need policies in place. We need, uh, sustainability plan.
We need to make sure that we're, we optimize our dispatch protocols. Cause so many times, as soon as it gets labeled as a medical emergency, there could be a cop across the street that has no idea. He could have saved a life. Sure. That's why we gotta fix that. So we, we have to optimize all these things. And when I started looking at this mountain of work, I had to do, I mean my, my job at the floor, I'm like, this is such a neglected area.
And I tried to reproach all these other organizations to help, but they had their own agendas. They got their own things going on and they've been unsuccessful in the past. So I had to start from scratch. I had to bring in chiefs of police, Kalia experts, policy writers, dispatch managers. We had to create our programs from scratch to say, all right, how do we really do this? And how do we get cops to communicate this and articulate this to command staff members who, who came up in a different era, who may not understand the impact we can make.
Yeah. And that's where we had to really create our programs. We had to go in there and show, we had to talk about the increased risk of heart rate and the first responders, what they were paying out for widows and what the, what the risk was on duty. I mean, we had to go in there and all this stuff had to come together to create this nonprofit.
And originally it wasn't, it was just a side thing I was doing to help cops get AEDs. And this is how you, this is how you been a program. Here's some training recommendations. And it just kept growing, growing, and growing. I said, okay, well now what? Now we got the adss. How do we support the system? And I kept getting called back to these agencies and all of a sudden I started getting all these phone calls, Hey, we just got another life save.
Hey, we got another one. So we started awarding officers, here's a certificate, here's a challenge point, here's this. And we ended up creating a group award. And it just kept growing. And I'm like, eventually when my wife had to go outta state and do her rotations and I was traveling back and forth seeing her and working the streets, I was like, man, there's a lot of potential here.
We can save so many lives. And one of the cities alone, we quadrupled survival. And I'm like, if we can spread this to law enforcement everywhere, we, we could save hundreds of thousands of lives across the country. That's not even an exaggeration. No. Especially for witnessed events. We could save hundreds of thousands of lives per year if we do this.
So I'm like, I'm dumb enough to think that I could actually make a difference and the number one killer. And I, um, I'm impulsive enough that I jumped in with both witnesses. So I dropped to reserve and 2018 and I said, you know, I gotta focus on doing this nonprofit. So I only did my 20 hours per month or whatever it was.
And then basically started as an L L C learning the, a game learning, the resuscitation game learning the business side of it. How do I do this? How do I do my taxes for it? How do I do that? And it was, it's a being public survey. I mean, we're used to doing our jobs, collecting a paycheck, not having to do all the backhand and the HR side of it.
All the other crap that goes along with it. , there's so much to learn, especially if you're a knuckle dragger like me. So we hate to create all this stuff from scratch and build it. And eventually we're like, you know what? We're gonna do a non-profit work. If we became a nonprofit, we'd be able to partner with agencies and help get grants.
We'd be able to get grants and award them lifesaving devices. And I'm like, we're already doing this. And all, all the stuff we're doing already qualifies as a 5 0 1. Why not just do it? So during the pandemic, we applied and got our 5 0 1 status and we became a full non-profit. Now we're getting grants now we're working with agencies, we're helping the corporate sponsors, we're implementing programs now.
It is saving lives like crazy. And we're getting all those phone calls. I'm like, this is, this is what we're meant to do. Which is why I made the decision not to go back to full-time in law enforcement. I'm gonna stay reserved that way. I can focus on this mission. And plus it's nice being able to work at home A lot of times, except when we're doing training and be on the road and doing consultations and stuff.
I get to be with my kids. I get to take up to school, I get to see 'em and work around my wife's oncall schedule. So it ended up really working out and it's been very fulfilling. That's awesome. That, that is such a, I love seeing, uh, when I have guests on the show and them seeing a gap in something and then figuring out that gap and putting, uh, something in place for that.
That's, you're, you're definitely right. This is something that should be happening, um, across the world. Um, you know, especially probably more easily done here in the United States or in in Europe. Uh, but yeah, I mean, that's such a, what you're doing is making such an impact. I mean, I know you're being humble, but I mean, saving one life, you know, by your career program is pretty amazing.
And saving multiple lives and just having this start to branch out into other departments is, is awesome. I love it. Yeah. It's, it, it's, it's very humbling. But this is, in my experience, this thought, I was told to earn my second chance. So I, I, I, I've been, I've been blessed. The second chance, I don't take it for granted.
This is how I earned it. I, I try to earn every day. And that's something that it's become a mantra that I earn each day. That's, that's our slogan for the organization. And at, at the end of each day, I sit there and go, you know, did I earn today? Was I a good enough husband? Was I good enough, father, did I make an impact? Did I helped somebody? That's something that's been a driving fact.
But even though these programs are growing, more and more things are coming up with it. So yeah, now we're getting more and more life saves. But now the survivors side of me is seeing a huge, a huge gap in post-arrest care. All these organizations are talking about, Hey, you know, there needs to be better support for survivors after they, after they live for them and their family members.
And they do all these studies to say, yep, you're right. They need support . Well, I'm glad you spent millions of dollars on that study. It is great, but what are you actually doing for survivors? Let's talk about the medication side of them. Yeah, let's talk about the neurological damage to the brain from hypoxia.
We have survivors that have got, you know, horrible tremors. We've got survivors that have got memory gaps. They've got difficulty finding their speech, they've got coordination issues, they've got impotency, they've got medic. All these different things that happen after their cardiac arrest.
Now it's like, all right, now we saved them. How do we help them live a good life now? And that's how we started working with the survivor communities and researchers. I have a part of panels and working with trying to get more resources to that, you know, because it's, it's scary man. I've been through it.
It's a mental health rollercoaster and there's a lot of anxiety that lives with it. Those that get shocked multiple times by their devices, those that have had to impact their marriage, those that have had it impact their lives. Like there's a lot to it. And you can't just save them a life and say, Hey, get out there.
You, we need to start having better systems support, letting them know what they're facing once they get out of the hospital, what them, what they're gonna face the next weeks, months, years. Help them kind of give them a playbook of what to expect and some resources for it. And that's something we, I've been working with as well.
But I can start whole nonprofit just for survivor support. Yeah. Right. And work on that full-time. There's so many different aspects and I mean, it's optimized in the program and it, it's just hard to get everyone to work together. Cuz I mean, in law enforcement, in for, in public safety, we're, we know our rolls, we know what cops do.
We know what fire, we know what E m s do. Yeah. We're very good at working with each other in the private sector. It's chaos, man. Like everyone, there's so many egos. There's a silo effect. Like everyone wants to be the only one doing what they're doing. You use this a we're this ada, you're this company, or this training program, or this training program.
And if you work with them, you're a competitor. If you work with, no, we all have the same mission. We're all trying to save lives. And I'm so tired of all the BS that comes with it. You know what I mean? Yeah. Because that's where we have to, we have to bring these communities. You need medical direction, you need systems to care.
You need program monitoring and tracking. You need, uh, AEDs that meet this, but everyone's so stuck in their ways and there's a profit and there's a business model behind it. And they're so slow to change. You have to show them successes first and doing it differently before they even consider changing the way they're doing it.
And it's, it's a medical device Industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. And it, no, yeah. Especially AEDs are drop in the buck in some of these places that make, you know, hospital, hospital grade equipment and do all these other billions of dollars worth of work. So it's, it, it's, it can be a lot, especially for a public servant that we, when you have the answer and you say, look, our programs are quadrupling survival, we are making differences, and this is how you do it.
And you still not getting, you're still not getting people to, to buy in and jump with it or fund it or work with it. You're like, we've already done more than new programs, have in the last decade. Let's fix this. And it's, it can be so incredibly frustrating trying to get support and work, especially as public servants.
Cause we we're problem solvers. It's what we do in the field. Yeah. We see a way to solve it. The potential for these programs keeps me up at night. Now I'm like, you know how much more we could do if we just expanded this, if we did this with this city county? I didn't have to argue about funding for this. Like, it's how many lives would be saved with the program? It's, it can be extremely aggravating.
And that's something I have to reel myself back into. All right, look, you, you can't change the world like that. It, it takes time. It's a gradual effect. And be grateful for the small victories you get . Yeah, yeah, yeah. Definitely it. And it's, and it's hard, like you said, you, you see how much, how many lives are being saved and you're like, why isn't everybody just on board with this? And yeah, there's a one part of it's financial and one part of it.
It's probably at least another one. Part of it is like culture and making some, some changes in that direction. But you're, you picked up a couple people along the way to help you out with this project. Let's talk about those people. Absolutely. Man, I am so blessed. I got, I've got an incredible crew. You know, my director of training, Tim Freud is just an absolute rockstar.
I mean, he's, he's been teaching BLS and since 1989. SWAT medic, flight Medic. Uh, he runs the, the flight programs for banner hospitals. I mean, the guy's an absolute rockstar and just the most humble guy ever. I'll give you the shirt off his back. And being able to create our training programs with him has just been an absolute polite man.
I mean, we came together, we both came from the SWAT world. We both came from force on force style training where, you know, you're doing hostage rescue barricades, active shooter training, and it's realistic. There's bleeding simulators, there's chaos, there's screaming, there's, there's tactics involved, there's strategy involved in, I'm like, why aren't we doing this for resuscitation? Why is it that we get some leftover PowerPoint in a couple clicker mannequins? And that's considered our training.
Like we need to be taking reality-based training to law enforcement. So Tim and I sat together and we said, look, how are we gonna take SWAT training to resuscitation for line level guys? Cause we don't, we don't wanna create a course that's for medics. They already know what they're doing. We don't need to be creating a course for firefighters and ems.
We need to create a course for the line level patrol officer that's responding to this that gets handed that blue baby that's responding to that car accident or that amputation from that motorcycle that got his leg pinned between the pole and the motorcycle and his legs over there. And they have to save him right now.
We need to be preparing those guys to do the job. So we sat sitting there together. We said, all right, we've both been instructors and d t firearms medics, all kinds of, all this other stuff like that. We've already been C P R instructors to work with, you know, C P R University and this and this and that. So I said, why don't we put together our own program? So we sat there and said, all right, we need to do reality-based training standards.
We need actors, we need feedback mannequins that actually measure depth, recoil fractional limitations so we can have a realtime feedback and see how officers are doing before the training, during the training, and after the training. See how much they improved. But I said, how do we make it realistic? How do we get, how do we do this? Cuz you can't just throw 'em in the scenarios and hope and succeed.
You have to do the crawl, walk, run. Yeah. So we created the Advanced Law Enforcement Resuscitation Academy. Basically you start off with a PowerPoint. You start off with the classroom phase. Then we do skills building with instructors where we learn everything from proper tourniquet applications, hemorrhage control, uh, excited delirium management, body mechanics, moving down patients tactics.
We go over, um, high performance cardio, cerebral resuscitation, how to use AEDs. Cuz not all AEDs are the same. And if you're working at, right, you may be issued an aed, you may have no AEDs for your police department, but when you're off duty at the airport or at a grocery store, someone collapses when in front of you, you may get handed this device or that device.
It may have two piece pads. It may have one piece pads, it may have a key for this, it may have that and open top push button. There's different models. So we want officers to be proficient with whatever's put in their hands. So after the skills station, we actually go into reality-based training scenarios, and that's where we have the actors and we, we all base it around actual calls we've been a part of.
So you've got your suicide attempts with bleeding control where you have to incorporate officer safety. It's not just a medical class, it's not just this. You have to incorporate strategy, you have to incorporate tactics, officer safety skills, communication, deescalation, overdoses, how to properly handle that when the person's covered in fentanyl and you're going up there, you know, how do you glove up? What happens when you get exposed to it? How do you safely decontaminate all, all these, these different variables had to come together.
So we created this course and it's a full 10 hour day and we started putting officers through it. And man, the feedback has just been amazing. We're finding that cops are so much better at resuscitation than anyone thinks. So like when, when you teach at the E M s or at the, at the hospital level, most of the time, doctors, nurses, firefighter, their scores start to start to dip after about 60 days.
Right? That's why all these programs that do that focus on high performance train quarterly cops. We are finding we're one, we're very competitive, right? So we, we wanna beat at our buddy. We like, we like winning stuff. So we always have prizes as well. But two, we also found that cops are really good at building muscle membrane, just like a firearms FrontSight trigger press when it comes to getting your death and staying with it.
Cops are doing well with that, especially under stress when we train them and de stress inoculation their parasympathetic nervous system's triggered and they remember that they have a blueprinted draw from 'em when someone's actually dying. So in our study that we're doing right now, we're finding that cops we're going back six months to a year later and cops are still on the high eighties, high and high, low nineties for the resuscitation scores.
When it, it, it's, it's absolutely baffling. There's such an untapped potential here. But with our program, our lowest graduating score class averages ever has been 98.53 when it comes from resuscitation for cardio cerebral. And it's, it's absolutely outstanding. And now we're getting calls all the time.
Hey man, two weeks after your class, I just, I saw attorney on this guy. Hey, the guy overdosed. I did Narcan, I did C P R for seven minutes. I saved the guy's life and we're getting all these phone calls. And man, does that make my day when you're like, Hey, something that we did matters. Someone's, like you said, you save one life, it brings on an eternity.
Yeah. That survivor's gonna be able to walk their daughter down the aisle or gonna be able to graduate college, be able to go do their own thing. And that's, that's so incredibly meaningful when we get those phone calls. Yeah. So having, you know, having, sorry, having those staff like Tim and our, our, you know, Mike Rhodes is, is our, uh, vice president.
Being able to have these guys that are actively in, uh, active first responders that are able to use this stuff and promote it in the field and show, show its successes have been amazing. Chris Hoyer retire Phoenix PDs, our sergeant, our arms, he does amazing work on mental health and debrief for his incidents.
And you know, Aaron Johnson and our treasurer, like we, we've just got an incredible team of guys and girls. I have another fellow, fellow survivor, Kathy Riley, who's the president of Arizona. Cardiac arrest survivors. Having her on the team and keeping me humble on the survivor side has absolutely been instrumental.
Like, it's just, it, it's an incredible crew and we're definitely looking to expanding, bring in more other business mind, the fundraising side, people that know more about the nonprofit. Cause we're finding, we are very, very good at program implementation training and getting shit done. But the fundraising, the nine nineties, the back of the house, all the other, the business side of things, we're street cops.
We're not, we're not business man. We need to, we need help with that . Yeah. Yeah. Looks like you have a couple people that you have back there on their shelf if, um, viewers are, are watching this, that are helping you with this funding. So yeah, we were very fortunate. We teamed up with a real American Hero coffee company and Filthy Pirate Coffee Company.
Both are veteran owned, both are first responders. So I mean, when we started working with Real American Hero, these guys are all in the Air Force. These guys are, they're firefighters and all kinds of stuff. And he said, Hey, we wanna help. How can we help? I'm like, you guys are coffee makers, what if we just kind of, what if we do a custom blend and have the proceeds go towards our training program? And he said, absolutely.
So they got to, they, they brought me in, showed me a bunch of cool roast and said, you know, what are you looking for? I said, well, you know, I said, I like dark roast and know a lot of cops like dark coffee. So I'm let's let's do a dark roast. So we first put together the, the Griffith Blue Heart blend from Real America Hero Coffee and I love it.
It's an awesome roast. Uh, afterwards I ended up doing, um, the Thin Blue, the Thin Brood Line podcast with Dan Spencer, who's a retired Tucson SWAT operator. And he's a Marine, he's got his own company called Filthy Pirate Coffee. He's like, Hey man, if you're considered doing a coffee, I was like, actually I got one .
He goes, well if you ever wanna do another one. I said, well, you know what, I don't wanna have two Griffin Blue Heart blends. But I said, you know, there's not enough attention to first responder spouses and you know, my wife is my hero. She saved my life. And I said, you know, first responder spouses don't get enough attention.
I said, what if we create something for them but still have the proceeds go towards helping us save lives? And he said, absolutely. So we came up with Melissa's heart stopper named after my wife, who's my hero. And it's a coconut rum latte. And this thing is absolutely outstanding. My wife picked the flavor that's, there's, there's no acidity to this thing.
And it's just an amazing blend. And we put that together and now we've got both of them selling coffee and every time we sell those bags, it goes towards our programs as well. So we're still getting grants, we're still doing fundraisers and auctions and all that fun stuff, but it's nice to get quarterly checks from each of these guys helping support our programs.
Yeah, yeah. Brand of work and people find more information about the programs and follow you on social media. Well, if you go to griffith blue heart.com, it talks about our programs, who we are, what our services are. We've got our training calendar up on there. We've got several links to podcasts me and my guys are also columnists.
So we write articles frequently for publications like Police One you can check out all of our articles on there. Also we have links to our coffee sponsors as well. But if you don't wanna go to the Griffith Heart website, you can also go to a real American hero, coffee. You can also go to Filthy Pirate Coffee and buy the coffee direct from them.
But it's anytime you wanna help us out, especially when it comes to the fundraising side, we have a donate here and the PayPal links on our website. People think they have to do these big donations, you know, a hundred bucks, a thousand bucks here to, to help support nonprofits. But in the reality, it's the little tiny donations that make a huge difference.
And the people that, you know, I'm not gonna have my coffee today. I'm gonna donate five bucks. Yeah. You get regular small amounts. It really helps support our programs cuz AEDs need batteries and pads and we need to get new tourniquets and we have to do replace training gear and we have to get all these programs in place.
It takes time and effort and every little cent ha helps. So we get people that sign up to be monthly donors and support our programs. They, those monies are directly saving lives. They're helping us get lifesaving equipment and training in the cop's hands. Yeah. Yeah. Brenda, thank you for what you do and thank you for putting together a, a great program and I'm looking forward to spreading across the country and the globe.
Oh, thank you. I really appreciate your support. Yeah, yeah. Thank you for being on today. Absolutely. Thank you, sir. Thanks again for listening. Don't forget to rate and review the show wherever you access your podcast. If you know someone that would be great on the show, please get a hold of our host, Jerry Dean Lund through the Instagram handles at Jerry Byron Fuel or at Enduring the Badge podcast, also by visiting the show's website, enduring the badge podcast.com for additional methods of contact and up to date information regarding the show.
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