Jan. 16, 2021

Resiliency and perspective in life and tragedy- Patrick O'Neill

Resiliency and perspective in life and tragedy- Patrick O'Neill

My name is Patrick O'Neill and I am 40 years old.  I have been married for close to 10 years to my wife Julie and have two children, Makena 7 and Harrison 5.  I am a Captain Paramedic with the Phoenix Fire Department and have been on the job for 16+ years.  I am currently at Engine 17 A shift and have been a captain at this station for over 5.5 years.

I was born and raised in Arizona and to say the least, I had an interesting upbringing.  People often look at my upbringing and are amazed I am on the path I am.  My parents separated before I was 2 years old and I was primarily raised by my Mom until she died when I was 15 during a scuba diving incident.  She never remarried and I was her sole focus.  She worked 4-5 jobs most of the time and instilled in me a set of tools I would later use in life to navigate the difficult times to come.  My dad was a "ladies man" and was married a total of 5 times with my mom being No.3 on the list.  I grew up with some pretty nasty step moms that were prone to alcohol use and were both verbally/physically abusive.  After my mom died, I never lived with my dad because of this.  Instead I moved in with one family for 2.5 years when that relationship dissolved, I then moved in with another family who is the same family I am primarily apart of to this day.  They are incredible people who I love tremendously.

After High School, I went to ASU to fulfil one of my Mom's goals for me, a college education.  My mom had plans for me to join a military academy and become the first person in the family to go to college.  I did not continue her ambitions on that path but created my own path.  I graduated in 4.5 years with a degree in Kinesiology in December of 2003.  During the summer between my freshman and sophomore year in college I worked for a firefighter owned construction company and met some off duty firefighters which set the hook for me to choose firefighting as a career path.  I began testing immediately and didn't get hired until 2005.  My dad died in the spring after graduation after a short battle with long suspected lung cancer.

Within two years of being on the Phoenix Fire Department, I decided to test for Paramedic School.  I have always prided myself on being at busy stations and learning the most I can learn to pass on to others.  I have been blessed in my career to work with some of the greatest individuals who have taught me a ton.  I have also been witness to many terrible things and some things that were miraculous.  This job is not for the weak and it takes a lot to endure years and years of what we are challenged with which leads me to where I am at today.

To be resilient is my story in life.  I was faced with very difficult circumstances and have endured.  I have found support in family and friends which has carried me.  I have used the tools of my parents to withstand.  Now as a parent myself, I can't help but look back and analyze what I have been through and try to make sense of it to possible help others. 

Patrick's social media account https://www.instagram.com/patrickoneill1342/

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