(Read Time: 15+ minutes)
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
The Seraphim Corps was not born in one moment. It has been made of many pieces, some small and some large. But the first piece was the most important: and it started with heartbreak.
As a fresh medic in Florida, I remember my first time seeing an overdose. It would be the first of many to come, an epidemic in the area I served… But you never really forget your first one. I remember I ran ahead of the stretcher, with the fire crew lagging far behind as they struggled with the rain, the mud, the lack of a sidewalk. It was dangerous, to approach a drug house without police, on an anonymous call. I was young, invincible, and determined. No one knew where the home was, but somehow I knew I would be the one to find it. And I was.
I don’t know how I knew, but I did. I kicked in the door and I saw her there, lying on the couch. Foaming at the mouth. Still, not breathing. I called out for my crew, and immediately got to work. I breathed for her with a giant plastic lung called a BVM. I gave her narcan to undo the drugs she had taken, to bring her back to life. By now everyone was crowding in, and the team moved like a well oiled machine. Police had arrived and set up a perimeter. My team attached the heart monitor to her. I moved to pump on her chest and give her CPR, but that was when we all noticed it was too late. Flatline. She had been still for too long. That was when I knew I couldn’t save her.
We are taught to accept this with steely bravado. We did the best we could, and needed to move on before our next call… But, before I could process what had happened, her little sons and daughter came in before the officers could stop them, and asked if Mommy would be okay. To this day it chokes me up to even write about it.
I didn’t realize it then, but a seed had been planted – In those kids I saw myself, because I also lost my mom at a very young age: not to drugs, but to violence in Miami. I wished I could have saved them from what I went through, a youth without a mom. And I knew, no matter how fast I was, no matter how much I knew, I couldn’t be everwhere at once. Suddenly it was very personal, and everyone told me to never let that happen. But somehow, after nearly seven years in this, it’s still personal. I still care. And I hope I always will.
That day, and many other days with tragedies like it, they showed me again and again that the only times lives are saved are when the people nearby have the training and the tools to do it. For that woman, if her boyfriend, her friends, or even her kids had known what to do, then she would be alive and on the path to healing today, with thousands of others. All of those empty seats at Thanksgiving and Christmas would be full. All those terrible moments of loss avoided. Instead, every year, millions of lives are changed forever.
I share this very personal story with some hesitation. But it is important to share because I am just another person, shaped to a degree by my circumstances – But mostly by my choices. I chose to found Seraphim Corps after the mounting frustration of seeing the US burst into violence with the Vegas shootings, as well as the Pulse shooting that happened on my watch in Orlando. It, and many other mass shootings, taught me hat the lives saved were due to effective response from armed and prepared people, and due to rapid medical response from the few trained and prepared bystanders.
The idea for the Seraphim Corps was unexpectedly forged when I left the USA to work in a conflict zone, where I’ve spent the last two years. Since then, more pieces came together as I discovered adventure medicine on a trip to Kyrgistan, and the mountains of Toktogul, on high and icy roads in winter. I found another piece in a Colombian military base while giving impromptu training to young cadets, where I realized how much I love to teach. Then it was spiritually completed in the jungles near Guatavita, and El Dorado, where one simple and ancient tribal spiritual lessons was realized: anytime anything is taken from the Earth, something must be given back. Or, in reverse and in the words of Jesus, “As you give, so shall you receive.”
I worked for years on the road as a paramedic in the USA, graduated with honors from the police academy to be prepared to better serve, and also worked in an emergency room to understand paramedicine. Now, working overseas and traveling brought my experiences together… Where they were finally distilled and humanized in the children’s shelters of Alalay, where I taught Bolivian children and charity workers to perform emergency first aid. This was where I noticed the need for Mentoring, and for the lessons common in the USA to be taken to South America, and other places.
There is a need for every man, woman, and child to be trained – in first aid, and in the life skills that at all take for granted. These medical skills are the differences between living and dying. And the life skills are the difference between the haves, and the have nots. There is a need for a different kind of humanitarian – one with a warrior mindset, a thinkers approach, a healers touch, and a desire to share their capabilities with the world. There is a need for world minded people who are willing to help, with education and training, and with compassion and consciousness.
This was when I decided to become a life coach, to go back to school and to learn to create and run an organization. I am currently in that process, as I am founding my first organization and 501c3 – Seraphim Corps, and becoming an official Coach for Mark Divines Unbeatable Mind Academy, which currently has a 90% pass rate from BUDS Navy SEAL training.
Our Story is one of hope – hope for a better future, through training, knowledge, compassion, and a commitment to empower people everywhere to be capable, ready, and masters of their own lives. And it starts here.