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ABOUT US

"We exist to make an impact in the lives of firefighters and first responders"

our mission

Our mission is to help combat mental health issues among Firefighters and First Responders. We want to be a beacon of hope during these difficult times that many of us face. Mental health issues and an alarming amount of suicides have become a major problem among our profession.

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our vision

Overwhelmingly, our desire is to provide resources for our brothers and sisters so they can take ACTION. Awareness is great, but just like words with out action are dead, so is awareness without proper resources. So if you or a firefighter/first responder you know is in need, simply text

“SUPPORT” to 1-833-698-7864

and we promise to walk with you through whatever it is you’re facing.

Our Mission

BLAKE STINNETT

Next Rung was founded by our Director and CEO, Blake Stinnett. Blake has always had a love for the fire service and set out with a goal to make an impact in those he worked beside. It wasn't long into his career when he was impacted by the suicide of a friend and co-worker. The goal of Next Rung quickly changed from being an apparel company to serving and aiding first responders in their battle against mental health issues. Blake has a background in ministry, working with families and students. However, growing up with a father who was a firefighter, he knew that this profession and brotherhood was something special. After 8 years in full-time ministry, Blake changed gears and started his career as a firefighter in 2015. He currently serves as a Firefighter/Paramedic with Morgan County Fire, which is east of Atlanta, Georgia. Blake lives in Madison, Ga with his beautiful wife, Natalie, and two precious children, Layleigh and Jack. 

 

Blake’s ultimate hope is to serve and make a difference. He set out with a goal to change the life of one person, but hopes to change and help save the lives of hundreds of firefighters and first responders across the United States. He believes that Next Rung can do this and that they will make waves in the Fire and First Responder community.

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charlie brown

Our Co-Director and COO is Charlie Brown, yes you read that correctly, and He is a Egineer/Paramedic for the Glendale Fire Department in Glendale, CA which is just 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. He has been with the GFD for almost 15 years, currently assigned as an Engineer. He lives in Moorpark, CA with his lovely wife, Lisa, and 3 children CJ, Reese, and Evelyn. When he’s not at the fire station he enjoys being as involved as he can with his children and community. He coaches his kids in their sports and is also an avid pickleball player.

 

His ultimate goal for his fire service career is to at nothing less, do his part to leave the fire service a better place than what it was when he entered it. It wasn't until a total stranger (Blake Stinnett, our Director) reached out through social media that Charlie knew how he could make a difference. He truly believes God put Blake and Next Rung in his life for a reason. As firefighters, we are called upon in people’s most desperate times of need, but who do we, the firefighters, call when we are in need? Charlie wants to be one of those resources to call, this is why he is here and this is why we started Next Rung.

CALEB GRESSMAN

Our Director of Peer Support is Caleb Gressman. He is an Engineer Paramedic for Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department in Florida. He has been serving the citizens of Duval County for 18 years. He currently lives on the farm he grew up on in the small town of Callahan, Florida with his wife of 21 years, Hillary, and their 3 daughters, Riley, Rowan, and Reese. For many years, Caleb and Hillary led a young couple mentorship ministry at their church where they walked alongside young couples as they began their journey into marriage. They focused on helping the couples build a strong foundation in Christ before entering into the marriage covenant.Caleb also serves on the Federal Disaster Medical Team (DMAT) FL-4 and the Urban Search and Rescue Team Task Force 5 out of Jacksonville, FL. Before Caleb entered the fire service, he lost a very close friend to suicide. After that loss, Caleb vowed to never let anyone suffer alone again. After connecting through the fire service for several years, our Director Blake Stinnett reached out to Caleb and asked him if he would be open to sharing the mission and vision of Next Rung to those around him. Caleb knew after speaking with Blake that day that this was how he could "Be there" for people. Especially his "brothers and sisters in the fire service." This is where Caleb's journey with Next Rung began. Caleb served on our Peer Support team and our board of directors before stepping into the Director of Peer Support position. Caleb has a simple yet meaningful saying that he uses daily, "BE THERE." It is as simple as that.

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ROBERT ARRIETA

Robert Arrieta is or Director of Clinical Services. He is a Paramedic Lieutenant in the Fire Department and has been a first responder for over 21 years. Robert shares his story to raise awareness for mental health and suicide and is the Treatment Director for Next Rung. Roberts hope is to raise awareness that PTSD can impact anyone regardless of their walk and that a community exists to support and uplift them.

We Need Your Support Today!

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