Irving, TX Local 2073 peer support members answered the call to assist Uvalde fire fighters in the aftermath of the mass killing at the Robb Elementary School. Although the Uvalde Fire Department is not an IAFF affiliate, our brothers and sisters from Local 2073 stepped up to assist the community.
“After tragedies like the Uvalde shooting, IAFF members do what we are known for, we help any way we can,” says General President Ed Kelly. “I am so proud of our Local 2073 members’ efforts to help the Uvalde community begin to heal.”
“Fire fighters and other first responders experienced unfathomable trauma and heartbreak as a result of the Robb Elementary School shooting,” says 11th District Vice President Sandy McGhee. “Our 11th District members in Irving have really stepped up and are supporting them during this difficult time. I know the Uvalde community appreciates their selfless acts.”
On May 24, Uvalde fire fighters and other first responders were called to the scene of the school shooting, which took the lives of 19 students and two teachers. The small community was left devastated by the weight of what had happened.
In response, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services began organizing a task force to help the citizens of Uvalde process the events of that day and move forward. The department called Local 2073’s peer support team members who were quick to send help.
“Our peer support members typically respond to requests from other IAFF members, but the situation in Uvalde is different,” says Daniel Rozier, president of Irving Local 2073. “The trauma in Uvalde was so tragic, our members wanted to do anything they could to help the first responders process what happened and begin to heal.”
The small community is serviced by a fire department of three career fire fighters and more than 20 volunteers, a private ambulance company and a police department. Most knew at least one of the teachers and kids killed that day.
Local 2073 members were in Uvalde for several days in early June. They reached out to fire fighters and other first responders by visiting fire stations and attending church services and vigils.
“Everyone is still feeling overwhelmed, so many are not ready to talk,” says Joe Kowal, a Local 2073 peer support team member. “But we left the door open. When they are ready to talk, we will be prepared to provide additional assistance.”
Local 2073 has been building its peer support capabilities to better serve its members and other Texas affiliates. Last year, the local worked with the city administration and the fire chief to create and fund a Wellness Unit, which assists fire fighters and police officers. The unit includes a full-time clinician.