Team Members

Jeff Dill

Founder & CEO & Instructor

North America Region

  • (847)-209-8208 jdill@ffbha.org

In 2009, founder Jeff Dill, organized Counseling Services for Fire Fighters. CSFF was established based on the tragic events that surrounded Hurricane Katrina. When speaking with firefighters who returned after serving the community of New Orleans, he heard the pleas of firefighters who had a difficult time talking with counselors who did not have any firefighting experience. They became frustrated and never did seek the help they needed. It was CSFF mission to offer behavioral health workshops to support firefighters, train senior officers and educate clinicians on the benefits of understanding the life and emotions of firefighters. On 12/31/14, CSFF donated all of their intellectual property to FBHA.

In 2011, Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance was organized based on the decreasing funds available for training at the Fire Department level and the staggering number of firefighter suicides. FBHA was established to directly educate firefighters/ Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and their families about behavioral health issues such as depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and addictions, as well as firefighter suicides. Through businesses, community support and sponsorships, it is our hope that the workshops and services will be offered at low cost or no charge to those in need.

Jeff holds a Master’s degree and is a Licensed Counselor. He is a retired Captain from Palatine Rural Fire Protection District in Inverness, Illinois and is a member of the American Counseling Association, National Board of Certified Counselors, International Associations of Fire Chiefs, and is an alumni member of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Jeff Dill, and those working with FBHA are dedicated to educating firefighters and emergency service personnel on the importance of behavioral health and suicide awareness.

 

Jennifer Cramer

Outreach Team & Instructor

National Region

  • (330) 224-0920 jcramer@ffbha.org

Jennifer “Jen” Cramer has a Master’s Degree in Counseling from The University of Akron and is a Licensed Professional Counselor with the State of Ohio. She is experienced in working with victims of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, traumas, PTSD, grief, addictions and developmental disabilities. Jennifer is married to a Firefighter/Paramedic and has three children. Jennifer is an officer in the NCFD Auxiliary and enjoys traveling in her free time.

 

Sara Lapacka

Outreach Team & Instructor

National Region & Alaska

  • (903) 315-6661 slapacka@ffbha.org

Dr. Lapacka, M.A., M.Ed., Psy.D. is employed at a private practice outside the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex; specializing in clinical and forensic psychology. Her work includes complex custody evaluations, court ordered evaluations (e.g., risk assessment, threat management, etc.), firefighter pre-employment screening and police pre-employment screening. Dr. Lapacka further aids in diagnostic clarification, treatment planning and clinical supervision. Ms. Lapacka has presented nationally and internationally to audiences regarding mental health awareness and treatment.  She is the recipient of the prestigious Michael Serafino award for her research which was used to validate an instrument for use in the selection of special service operators. Dr. Lapacka is passionate about increasing first responders’ mental health awareness. She hopes to bridge the gap between mental health providers and first responders via her work with the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance.

Dr. Lapacka received her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Bowie State University in 2007.  She holds an additional Master Degree (M.Ed.) in Clinical Psychology, which she attained from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology (ISPP) in 2010.  Her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology with a Forensics specialization was granted from ISPP in 2015.

 

Robert C. Simmons

Outreach Team & Instructor

National Region

  • (931) 625-2346 rsimmons@ffbha.org

Robert is an 18 year veteran of the fire service, and currently serves as an Assistant Chief in the Redstone Arsenal Fire Department, Alabama. His career has taken him around the globe as a volunteer, active duty Army firefighter, and a Department of Defense civilian firefighter. He began his service as a volunteer in his home of Lincoln County, TN. Shortly after high school, he enlisted in the Army as a firefighter and was assigned to the 562nd Firefighting Detachment at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. Robert was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and served as a firefighter during the initial invasion of the country. After leaving the Army, he became a DoD civilian firefighter where he remains today.

Robert holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Service Administration from Waldorf University and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Counseling with a concentration in crisis response and trauma from Liberty University. He is passionate about helping first responders and veterans build coping skills and resiliency and stopping suicide amongst their ranks. He believes that stress management programs and practices are an essential part of building a resilient first responder.

Robert currently resides in Alabama with his beautiful wife Kristi and their rambunctious sons, Baylor and Cash. If he’s not enjoying the blessing of being a fire service professional, you can usually find him with his boys sneaking into a tree stand somewhere looking for a big whitetail buck.

 

Derrick Edwards

Instructor

National Region

  • info@ffbha.org

Dr. Edwards is a Tennessee Licensed Professional Counselor – Mental Health Service provider. He received his Master’s degree from Tennessee Technological University (2011), and is a Doctoral degree from Trevecca Nazarene University (2016). Derrick’s research focus surrounds the psychological impacts of being an emergency responder. He currently serves as a full time faculty member at TTU and as a counselor in clinical practice. While completing his undergraduate degree, Derrick joined the Putnam County Fire Department in Cookeville, Tennessee where he served for 10 years, and is also licensed as an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician. He has been happily married to his wife Amanda since 2008, and they have 2 children, Ethan and Elizabeth. Currently Derrick lives on a small farm in Lebanon, Tennessee.