One805 Receives Significant Grant From Direct Relief International

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By One805

One805 provides critically needed services and equipment for Santa Barbara’s First Responders. This includes a mental wellness initiative that provides critical counseling and therapy to our Firefighters and First Responders who fight on the front lines to keep our community safe.

One805 board-member and retired firefighter Tony Pighetti, who runs the program, said: “Due to what they see on a daily basis, the suicide rate among First Responders is nearly double that of the general population. Culturally competent, confidential counseling is only made possible through the extraordinary support of generous donors like Direct Relief, and this program is directly saving the careers, families, and lives of our First Responders.”

When One805 asked Direct Relief if they would contribute to the vital mental health program they agreed without hesitation, demonstrating extraordinary generosity and humanity by donating $144,000 to Fund One805’s mental wellness program through 2023.

“It’s a particular privilege for Direct Relief to join in this critically important effort to support Firefighters and First Responders in our home community, whose members have carried Direct Relief on its shoulders for 75 years and provided unfailing support to extend help wherever it is needed,” said Direct Relief CEO Thomas Tighe. “Direct Relief’s broad global engagements provide a unique perspective on many things, and one of them is the men and women serving in these roles locally are exceptionally good at extraordinarily difficult jobs that get more challenging each year. They encounter uncommon personal risks serving others every day, and this effort is essential to help ensure appropriate supportive services are there for them, too.”

One805 CEO Kirsten Cavendish Weston-Smith commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this substantial grant from Direct Relief. In the same way that the 911 calls never stop coming in, our First Responder’s need for counseling and equipment never goes away. We hope this donation will inspire other businesses in Santa Barbara County to step up and make a multi-year donation to One805”.

In June 2022 the organization that had previously been running the program abruptly and unexpectedly pulled out of SB county, leaving all First Responders unsupported - even those in the middle of counseling. One805 stepped in and set up a program, almost overnight, to ensure coverage continued uninterrupted. “We need more local businesses to step up and follow Direct Reliefs example with some sizable contributions” said Richard Weston Smith, COO of One805 ”because we need to keep this program funded three years in advance, so it can never fail again.”

Santa Barbara County Fire Chief, Mark Hartwig commented: “Many of us know that Direct Relief addresses needs across the globe, but few of us know of the the commitment they have demonstrated locally. They have made significant contributions to the Firehawk and other equipment, and now they are generously contributing to One805 so that our firefighters and their families can receive the best mental health services as they deal with the daily stresses associated with with their role as first responders.”

We all benefit from our First Responders here in Santa Barbara County. Whether it is dialing 911 for a burglary or fighting fires that threaten our homes and businesses, we need our brave men and women to not only be on the front lines, but also to be well. They face incredible trauma on a daily basis and we need to give back. In Direct Relief, One805 has found a kindred spirit that understands how vital the First Responder community is to all of us in Santa Barbara.

Direct Relief provides critical medical supplies to 50 states, and countries around the world, regardless of politics. They have delivered10,900 shipments to 1,765 Healthcare organizations in 2022. These contributions were sent to 52 U.S. States and 81 countries at a value of 1.1 billion dollars wholesale.

One805 is an all-volunteer non-profit that supports all of the primary care agencies for Santa Barbara First Responders. All the County Chiefs sit on their Advisory Council, so funds raised go directly where they are most urgently needed. Visit one805.org to see how you can donate, as an individual or corporate donor.

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a-1670275623 Dec 05, 2022 01:27 PM
One805 Receives Significant Grant From Direct Relief International

I am also confused by this. One of the perks of being a firefighter are the great benefits (retiring at 50 with 90% of your salary).
Is there an issue with firefighters getting mental health support? If that's true shouldn't it be addressed by the county/city instead of a nonprofit?

montecito_matt Dec 05, 2022 01:51 PM
One805 Receives Significant Grant From Direct Relief International

Firefighters and Fire Departments are government entities, these receive our tax dollars for lush health benefits and salaries. I urge those who disagree to research how much firefighters make here in our county, both base salary and overtime that most of them stack up (Transparent CA). We are paying more in overtime (2 or 3x for some) than we would if they would just hire more people to staff at proper levels. This overtime is hurting us taxpayers and our community, $200k-300k+ in overtime sound a bit outrageous?

ChillinGrillin Dec 05, 2022 02:56 PM
One805 Receives Significant Grant From Direct Relief International

I'm confused by how out of touch this is. Very Montecito virtue signaling, and opens the way for preferential treatment of wealthy donors. So one nonprofit helping developing nations and Ukraine with lifesaving medical supplies donated six figures to a recently-founded local nonprofit providing "services" that are already paid for or should be funded by taxpayer dollars? Direct Relief has a stellar reputation locally and abroad. But if I was one of their donors, I would be outraged that they directed funds desperately needed elsewhere to the public sector of one of the highest net worth areas in the US. People are dying of preventable diseases but apparently the priority is duplicating services and buying things that should already be budgeted. What is Direct Relief thinking?

ChillinGrillin Dec 05, 2022 04:51 PM
One805 Receives Significant Grant From Direct Relief International

If local first responders need services, they need consistent public funding. Not one-off grants or fundraisers that make it so public services are backed by wealthy benefactors. Donors may have the best intentions but it’s a bad and unsustainable way to meet a need.

a-1670444386 Dec 07, 2022 12:19 PM
One805 Receives Significant Grant From Direct Relief International

Interesting, the same is being done in New York City:

"Those who are supposed to respond and help them are not doing well either. Since March 2020, the unions that represent the Fire Department’s medical responders have been so inundated with calls from members seeking help that we set up partnerships with three mental health organizations, all paid for by the E.M.S. F.D.N.Y. Help Fund, an independent charity group founded and funded by medical responders and the public through donations to help us out in times of crisis."

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/07/opinion/nyc-paramedic-mental-health-crisis.html

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