First Responder Wellness


Kevin Gilmartin, Ph.D. Author of “Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement 

This book would be a valuable asset to any first responder, clinician, or peer support person working with first responders.

Chief of Police Shelley Zimmerman (ret)—San Diego Police Department

After over 30 years in law enforcement, I have witnessed far too many times the emotional damage a career as a first responder can have. Bulletproof Spirit details practical steps that are not only effective, but essential to help protect and insure the wellness of those that serve. This book is a must read for all first responders and their families—the wellness and emotional survival for these heroes depends upon it, as well as the safety of our communities. 

Robert Douglas, Jr., Executive Director National Police Suicide Foundation

If there was ever a time in history where we need the answers to address critical emotional survival issues of our emergency first responders it is now! Issues of saving marriages, careers, and lives within our emergency first responder professions are everyone’s responsibility within our ranks. A great first step would be to read and immediate Captain Dan Willis’ recommendations in his book called Bulletproof Spirit

I have read many publications dealing with the emotional and psychological issues of our emergency first responders over the past 25 years, but very few were as “passionate” and “informative” as Healing Our Heroes. This is a must read for all first responders and their families, their leadership, supervisors, chaplains, along with clinical professionals that are seeking answers to the difficult issues that they are experiencing within their agency. 

Sara Gilman, PhD Psychotherapist, President: Coherence Associates, Inc.

Captain Willis’ Bulletproof Spirit:  The First Responder’s Essential Resource for Protecting and Healing Mind and Heart brings together the most important elements of psychological health for every first responder. After over 25 years as a Psychotherapist who specializes in working with first responders, I found this guidebook to be clear, compassionate and to the point. This is an excellent resource for the newest Academy graduate and for the long time Veteran. Coming from his vast experience in the field, Captain Willis conveys the importance of health, wellness and how departments can support their staff, as well as openly explains the hazards of the job and how to maintain career peak performance. This book is now a first choice for all the emergency first responders I work with. 

Nick Popaditch, Retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. and Author

Captain Dan Willis defines the dire necessity for coping strategies through dramatic, first-hand accounts. He tells it real and through the eyes of an officer on the street as well as the perils of failure to assign meaning and survival techniques to these experiences. Captain Willis instructs a career and life-long method to shield the spirit and achieve wellness of mind, body, and soul. Not only essential knowledge for all emergency first responders, but also for families and those who support these brave individuals who protect and defend us every day. 

Catherine Butler, PhD – Emergency First Responder Psychologist

Captain Willis has written a practical, extremely useful, and important guide for first responders everywhere. Bulletproof Spirit  is a vital resource for every first responder, care-giver, and agency manager. This book offers the essential keys for preparation for trauma, protection, and healing for all those devoted to public safety. 

Bobby Smith, PhD – Former Louisiana State Trooper and Author

As I read Bulletproof Spirit I found it difficult to lay it down. Captain Willis presented the truth that “It’s alright for the helper to ask for help” in a manner that proved to be thought-provoking and highly informative.

Captain Willis utilizes real-life stories from the warriors who have walked through the valley. His work emphasizes the significance of “wellness encompassing the mind, body, spirit”; and he reminds us that it is vital to not only nurture but to be nurtured as well. Be prepared to honestly look at yourself in the mirror and determine if you possess a “bulletproof soul”. 

Nancy Bohl-Penrod, PhD – Founder of the Counseling Team International, First Responder Trauma Expert

First responders typically do not understand the potentially devastating extent of the impact their chosen professions can have upon their minds, bodies, spirits, health, and families. Bulletproof Spirit provides an essential yet practical guide for all those who serve to enable them to live and serve in health and wellness. 

Clarke Paris, retired Las Vegas Metro Police Sergeant and author of “My Life for Your Life”; President: The Pain Behind the Badge Training LLC/ Creator-Producer “The Pain Behind the Badge”

Bulletproof Spirit exposes the silent dangers and sometimes killers, of many of our first responder heroes…Captain Dan Willis has taken his decades of law enforcement experience and put into words what will save first responder’s lives. Bulletproof Spirit is a book that will help to heal first responders and help them to find purpose and happiness once again. It was an honor to endorse this book. It WILL save lives.

Dave Grossman: US Army Lt. col (retired) Author of Bulletproof Mind and Warrior Mindset

An excellent life-saving book. The tragic psychological impact of traumatic events can be avoided and prevented, and this book is a powerful and effective illumination of these vital methodologies.

Dennis Smith, founder of

“Bulletproof Spirit” should be given to every new recruit in police and fire organizations, and indeed to all first responders who work in the sad and sometimes ugly realities found in the worlds of law enforcement and firefighting. We bring our emergencies home whether we want to or not, and this book makes us better prepared to be whole and healthy in our lives with our families and in their lives with us.

Michael J. Asken, Police Performance Psychologist – Author of “MindSighting: Mental Toughness Skills for Police Officers in High stress Situations”

Any police professional with a serious commitment to understanding and mitigating the professional and personal stresses of a police career knows well the names of Violanti, Kirschman, Gilmartin, and Grossman. The name of Captain Dan Willis can now be added to this respected list of leaders in police officer health and wellness. 

In Bulletproof Spirit, Captain Willis successfully combines aspects of science, spirituality, and his person experience to provide pragmatic approaches to individual officers and police organizations to maximize their health and longevity in their police careers. If you are a police officer facing the challenges of stress in your life and career (and all officers are), Bulletproof Spirit is an important and useful read.

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