The Power of Peer Support: A Firefighter’s Story

You come to know the value of peer support when you’re faced with a life changing injury. Peer support for burn survivors helps speed and strengthen recovery by offering hope at a challenging time, and the simple truth is that the sooner burn survivors connect to resources and caring people, the sooner they can get back to living.  

Phoenix SOAR® (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery®) connects burn survivors to a community of people who share their experience. This one-on-one peer support program plays a crucial role in helping burn victims on their journey of becoming burn survivors. Often, the individuals and family members in this program later train to become SOAR peer supporters themselves. The power of this program has been proven time and time again. Below is a link to the first of six personal stories that we are excited to release in the upcoming weeks. It is the compelling video testimonial of burn survivor, peer supporter, and retired firefighter, Mitch Dryer. 

A firefighter since 2003, Mitch shares the story of his incredible survival from an injury on the job. With 3rd and 4th degree burns covering 20% of his body, Mitch conceded to death but was rescued at the last minute by fellow firefighters. 

What followed were intense physical pain and emotional upheaval. While in the burn unit, Mitch connected with a Phoenix SOAR peer supporter: another firefighter and burn survivor who was injured on the job. 

Talks with his peer supporter gave him insight into his future, the support to deal with the present, and the strength to move forward and get back to living. Mitch chose to use his experience, share his story, and help other burn survivors by becoming a trained Phoenix SOAR peer supporter in 2011. 

Watch Mitch share his story in his own words by viewing our first Firefighter Stories video, and find out how to get support or help support other burn survivors. We appreciate your interest, involvement, and continued support of our programs. Please do not hesitate to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). We’re here to help.  

Funding provided through DHS/FEMA’s Grant Program Directorate for Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program - Fire Prevention and Safety Grants 

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