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2022 First Responder Wellness Conference

First Responder Wellness Conference

September 21-23, 2022

Hilton Garden Inn

West Des Moines, Iowa 50266

2022 Conference Sponsors


Contact us if your would like to be a sponsor for the 2022 Wellness Conference.

Registration Fee:

One Conference Ticket - $99.00

Scholarships are available for free attendance to the conference.  Email for more information.


Hilton Garden Inn

205 S 64th St, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Special room rates of $129/night are available.

Rooms are limited.  Click the following link to make your hotel reservation.





The Peer Support Foundation and the Iowa Fraternal Order of Police are joining forces and presenting the first ever: 


First Responder Wellness Conference


The conference will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in West Des Moines Iowa on September 21-23, 2022.  The conference will include topics and information related to first responder wellness, trauma, and peer support.  


The Peer Support Foundation and the Iowa Fraternal Order of Police are committed to proactively addressing the stressors that can occur throughout the life of first responders and their families.  

Sessions Topics Needed Include:

  • Children & Family

  • Finances

  • Peer Support

  • First Responder Leadership

  • Fitness 

  • Nutrition

  • Counseling

  • Stress

  • Trauma

  • Sleep

  • PTSD

  • Suicide

  • Marriage/Significant Other

  • Retirement

  • Chaplains

  • Line of Duty Deaths

  • Addiction/Substance Abuse

  • COVID-19

  • Other Related Topics


The First Responder Wellness Conference attracts a large number of guests.  Our 2021 Peer Support Conference included over 100 attendees. The conference participants include:


  • Administrators

  • Chaplains

  • Civilian Personnel

  • Correction Officers

  • EMS

  • Fire Chiefs

  • Fire Fighters

  • First Responder Families

  • First Responder Supporters

  • Human Resources

  • Law Enforcement Officers 

  • Mental Health Clinicians

  • Peer Support Personnel

  • Police Chiefs

  • Sheriffs

  • Training Specialists


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2022  Conference Schedule


Wednesday, September 21, 2022


0700-0800         Registration/Vendor Setup

0800-0815         Welcome/introductions/Opening Ceremony

0815-1100         Keynote - Chris Prochut with Talk2EndStigma

1100-1200         Clayton Garica Clive Fire Department

1200-1300         Lunch - Provided by the Peer Support Foundation

1230-1300         Lunch Presentation by Iowa Service Dogs

1300-1400         Iowa Department of Public Safety  Response to 3 Line of Duty Deaths- Cpt. Randy Olmstead, Tpr.                                Brad Cubit, & Agent Kristin Kotrous 

1415-1515         Tiffany Siefken

1530-1630         Stress Management through Verbal Judo - Officer Sean O’Neill -DMPD 


Thursday, September 22, 2022

0815-1030        Building Resiliency for First Responders - Jason Workman & Leah O Brien, First Responder Foundation

1045-1130        Critical Incident Desensitization Protocols (CIDP) - Sheila Russell

1130-1230        Lunch - Provided by the Peer Support Foundation

1230-1600        Critical Incident Desensitization Protocols (CIDP) - Sheila Russell

Friday, September 23, 2022

0815-1130        Closing Keynote - John Kelly with The Law Enforcement Life Coach

1130-1230        Lunch - Provided by the Peer Support Foundation

1215-1300        Awards/ Raffle


End of Conference




2022  Presenters
Chris Prochut
John Kelly
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Chris Prochut (pro-hut) is a mental health advocate and law enforcement suicide prevention trainer. Over the past ten years, Chris has had the honor to present to over 12,000 law enforcement officers across the United States and parts of Canada on the topics of suicide and depression warning signs, medication myths, department policy revision, and told of his personal experience with the stigma of mental health issues. Chris has presented at many NAMI-organized Crisis Intervention Team Trainings (CIT) where he addresses the subject of "Taking care of our own” and has been featured at various specialized law enforcement conferences advising departments on program development to assist officers at risk for suicide. Chris is a member of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Death Response (LEDR) Team, a former trainer in QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) suicide prevention program, an FBI National Academy (FBINA) Enrichment Speaker, an FBI National Academy Associates (FBINAA) Officer Safety and Wellness Committee Member, and an active volunteer with BringChange2Mind; an organization founded by actress Glenn Close to end the stigma surrounding mental illness Chris was recognized with the 2017 HOPES Award for his achievements in advancing suicide prevention in law enforcement by Mental Health America – Wisconsin. In 2018, Chris was presented with an "Iris Award" by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Wisconsin for his Outstanding Contributions, dedication, and support to promote the mission and vision of NAMI Wisconsin. That same year, Chris was also honored with the "Unsung Hero" Award presented by the FBI - Milwaukee Citizens Academy. Chris resides in Hartford, Wisconsin with his wife Jennifer and their son Chase (18), and daughter Ashlyn (15).


John Kelly is a thirty-year veteran of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, one of the largest sheriff’s offices in the country. John has been fortunate enough to have worked in and supervised the following units: Patrol, Investigations, K-9, Training, and for the past six years, the Motorcycle Unit. John has been involved in numerous critical incidents during his career. Early on, he was involved in a life-changing fight for his life. Fresh out of the academy, John found himself in hand-to-hand combat with an armed, drug dealing, a career criminal. This baptism of violence has contributed greatly in shaping John's passion and dedication to winning and realizing that we are responsible for our own survival and success.


During his career, John has been tasked with the development and implementation of numerous tactical programs and initiatives. He has had tremendous success in creating a positive and lasting shift in the mindset of those he has stood before. John has received countless awards and honors during his career. The vast majority of those incidents had a recurring theme: John placing himself in harm's way so that others may live, running towards danger, fully aware of the potential consequences. 


Like you, John wouldn’t have had it any other way. John’s most recent assignment required him to work closely with the United States Secret Service, providing instruction and assistance for presidential motorcades and related dignitary movements. John is well known for his ability to educate and motivate without losing the importance of the mission at hand, as well as the priority and importance of being accountable to each other.


John’s educational background is a never-ending work in progress. John received his BA from Norwich University, the oldest military college in the nation. He received his MBA from Phoenix University and is currently pursuing his life coaching accreditation from the International Coach Federation. John is an avid reader and is always looking to expand his base of knowledge. John is also a member of the 100 Club of Volusia County, an organization that provides financial assistance to first responders who have died in the line of duty.

Critical Incident Desensitization Protocols (CIDP) - Sheila Russell


Critical Incident Desensitization Protocols are interventions that can be used in the wake of a crisis, natural disaster or other critical incidents to reduce distress and symptoms associated with the traumatic experience. They ARE NOT therapy, they are a form of “psychological first aid” that can be helpful in decreasing an incident’s vividness and disturbance through the use of eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation (BLS). They are broken down into two separate protocols: (CID) Critical Incident Desensitization and (ATIP) Acute Traumatic Incident Processing. Both protocols use short bursts of eye movements, or other forms of BLS, to desensitize the distressing event. 

Proactive Annual Check-Ins... What are they?? - Clayton Garcia, Clive Fire Department

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The Clive Fire Department, we have taken a proactive approach to our departments' mental health. With the implementation of a Proactive Annual Check-in, each firefighter in our department is "required" to attend a 60 min mental health check annually with a mental health professional. This is a must program for every fire/EMS organization (it could be free), if not EVERY organization.

Verbal Judo-  Stress Management Through Verbal Defense- Sean O'Neill, Des Moines Police Department / Verbal Judo

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Verbal Judo- Stress Management through Verbal Defense. The Verbal Judo Institute has been around for almost 40 years and in this time, has trained countless Law Enforcement Officers on techniques to use to generate voluntary compliance with individuals they encounter. One of the main goals of this course is the reduction of stress when these techniques are utilized. During this presentation, we will discuss various Verbal Judo techniques as well as developing a mindset that will help officers increase the potential for positive contacts with individuals they encounter on the job and at home and reduce stress during these encounters.

Iowa Service Dogs - Jaimie Fisher & Garland Fisher


Iowa Service Dogs

Iowa Department of Public Safety Response to Three LODD's

-Cpt. Randy Olmstead, Trooper Brad Cubit, and Agent Kristin Kotrous

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DPS has experienced three deaths of Troopers in 2021. Each was different (Suicide, Felonious, Car Accident) and was handled in a slightly different manner. The training will discuss the DPS response to each incident with CISM/Peer Support/Psychologist and other support provided. It will discuss what worked well and what can improve upon with lessons learned. The presenters will also discuss what the DPS has done with wellness and other programs they have implemented in recent years.

Building Resiliency for First Responders - Jason Workman, LIMHP, LMHC, LADC & Leah O'Brien, LIMHP, CPC, LADC - First Responder Foundation


Resiliency enables First Responders to expend, recover, heal, and replenish their overall functioning to maintain healthier lives and careers. Learn the red flag behaviors and beliefs that lead to a lack of resilience in a First Responder, the effects of various types of stress on a First Responder, and how the roles of exercise, nutrition, addiction, and spirituality play into overall resiliency.  This is critical information for all First Responders, whether they are just beginning their career or have been in the trenches for several years

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure- Tiffany Siefken, LMSW, LMT

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During this hour, I will teach you about the signs and symptoms of stress, what it does to your body and brain, and how to manage stress at an early stage. I will teach you some basic nutrition guidelines for improving overall mental health and some specifics for targeting anxiety and depression, as well as how physical activity impacts mental health (I am not a nutritionist, dietician, or physical trainer). I will guide you through some breathing techniques you can use any time you feel stressed and a guided meditation at the end of the session.

Tiffany has been practicing clinical social work since 2020, after graduating from Brescia University with her Master of Social Work degree. Tiffany is the wife of a career firefighter and has held the fire service in utmost honor and respect since entering the family in 2008. She has experienced the ups and downs the fire service has brought upon her immediate family and the fire family as a whole, which is why she dedicated her undergrad and BSW practicum to educating about mental health and implementing a mental health program with her local department. Tiffany has been with her local CISM team for approximately 5 years and enjoys working closely with emergency responders from all departments. Tiffany has presented stress management and self-care for several community entities, and approximately 9 months ago, opened her private practice, which focuses on a holistic approach to mental health. Tiffany specializes in trauma, PTSD, nutrition for mental health, and the integration of massage and psychotherapy. Tiffany has been a Licensed Massage Therapist for 9 years in her own private practice. Prior to massage therapy, she worked for a short while as a medical assistant. Tiffany’s passion lies in holistic healthcare, innovation, creation, and helping the “helpers.” Her future plans include building a retreat for emergency responders, therapists, and other “helpers” here in the Midwest.

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