Let me start this blog by setting a scene involving a regular, everyday interaction between two people…whether it’s co-workers, family, friends, acquaintances…you name it:

Person A: How are you doing today?
Person B: I’m doing fine. Thanks for asking.

That’s a normal conversation. It’s great. In fact, striking up a conversation with those around you is just good for the soul. The problem is this — in my mind, when I look at the statistics of what’s going on in our country, I’m burdened by the reality that most people who answer that way are NOT fine.

We have a mental health crisis that’s raw and is crushing our country. Suicide rates are too high. The challenges people have in their lives and the pressure they’re facing — whether it’s with relationships, finances, their career, or even concern over the COVID-19 virus — are literally weighing them down. No one is immune from this. Even if you’re riding in smooth waters today, it’s inevitable…crashing waves will come.

With all of that reality, I couldn’t be more proud of the fact we’ve brought someone into our organization, who, honestly, I never thought would work inside of an insurance agency. His name is Dan Phillips, and he is the National Director of our new service called Responder Health. I’ll talk more about Responder Health in a moment, but first, I want to tell you about Dan.

Dan is a former U.S. Marshal, who did a number of things as part of the U.S. Marshal’s Service, to include leading the Office of Crises Services, which oversaw the Employee Assistance Program, Critical Incident Response Team, and Employee Resiliency Program. During his time as a U.S. Marshal, Dan was also a first responder during the tragic events of 9/11.

To hear Dan talk about that time in his life is not only heartbreaking, but, quite frankly, it’s gruesome. The things Dan saw while responding to the attack at the Pentagon are sights no one should ever have to lay eyes on. I won’t get into them, as I’m positive I would upset squeamish stomachs.

Going through that experience led Dan into a very dark time in his life where he dealt with PTSD and addiction. Because Dan recognized the signs, he was able to get help and overcome.

Since that time, Dan has been dedicated to helping first responders around the country get the help they need. In fact, Dan led and developed national programming for first responders all over the country with the Department of Justice.

Today, he’s with our ACAP HealthWorks team! He’s now helping first responders through his thought leadership and by leading the national rollout of Responder Health. Responder Health addresses the unique needs of first responders and their mental health. It focuses on intervention, prevention, and wellness. Morgan Young recently blogged about Responder Health. I encourage you to read it.

What Dan is leading and what we’re apart of as an organization with Responder Health is a fantastic example of how we’re delivering Better Tomorrows and Leaving Good Footprints all around us. I couldn’t be more excited to have Dan on the team and encourage you to reach out to him and talk with him about what he’s been through, his passions, and how, through Holmes Murphy, he plans to address the challenges first responders face every day. He’s very open, and I’m sure would love to meet and talk with you!

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