Trauma summits set for first responders

Strength In Peers, Sentara RMH Medical Center and James Madison University’s Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services will host summits on trauma for first responders and health and human service professionals in Mount Jackson and Harrisonburg.

The First Responder Trauma and Resiliency Summit will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Harrisonburg Rescue Squad in Harrisonburg, and Sept. 24 at the Mount Jackson Rescue and Fire in Mount Jackson.

Nicky Fadley, executive director of Strength In Peers, said this is the first time the summit will take place.

“We hope participants realize the widespread impact of trauma and learn how they can better help people who have experienced traumatic situations,” she said about the summit. “We also hope participants learn practical strategies for taking care of themselves.”

Speakers will include Allison Sampson-Jackson, a licensed clinical social worker in Virginia and CEO of Integration Solutions Inc., and professional firefighters Capt. Willie Wines, Jr. and Lt. Rhett Fleitz,  who serve in the Roanoke. The will discuss issues affecting the fire service.

Fadley said that her organization, Strength In Peers, is made up people with experiences overcoming mental health and substance use issues.

“Trauma is part of our stories,” she added. “The purpose of our organization is to help others with recovery. Trauma is part of most of our clients’ stories. We have organized these events to raise awareness that many of the issues we face are connected to adversity we have experienced. We also recognize the stress and vicarious trauma first responders and other service providers experience.”

This event is open to the public, but is targeted toward firefighters, police, emergency dispatchers and EMTs.

Registration for the event is $10. Register at

All fees, excluding processing, will be donated to the National Fallen Fighters Foundations and Harrisonburg Disabled American Veterans.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or

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