Next Rung was founded by our Director, Blake Stinnett. He wanted to make a difference in the lives of firefighters and all first responders. The goal quickly changed from being an apparel company to truly being able to serve 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, GA. 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.
Our Co-Director is Charlie Brown, yes you read that correctly, and He is a firefighter/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, serving as a firefighter for 10 and a paramedic for 5. 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 baseball and football for his son, softball for his daughter and is an avid pickle baller!
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