By April 2011 I had established what had become a DBA and then turned it into a non-profit. It was all part of the process, or hoops, I had to jump through in order to answer to the guidelines set by Anaheim Fire Department.
I am most proud of a few things. One of which, is that I never posted our trails or our tribulations. I only spoke of our success's and prosperity. Another proud point is that the word "I" which has been used a number of times already in this post was never a consideration to our foundation, it was a 'we' mentality for us right from the start. However I was the one that did all the ground work, more than than the public knows.
In the beginning "establishment" wasn't easy. There were those that apposed this program and for reason that were valid. When establishing any new program or idea you have to expect, accept and welcome the rebuttals to change. How else are you going to be able to have a multiple party debate? I always welcomed concerns; of which at that time there were many.
And through our non controversial, non judgmental ways we learned, came to agreements and together with our local fire fighters and other first responders, answered to the concerns of the departments and learned how to establish, train and provide protocol to all those who would use our equipment. It was a long road, with the best of success.
By 2012 and through 2013 we have seen many examples of what the resuscitation of a dying pet does for not only the dog or cat, but all the humans involved. Both the pet owners and the first responders who with loving hearts cared for our pets. Many people have approached us in person, via email and through social media sharing their stories of success. It is a grand thank you that will forever keep me focused!
But a true measurement of success isn't the size, or your name in prints but the smallest of unknown gestures. I had nothing to do with this calendar shoot. Our name is never mentioned and it is, above all something I am most proud of! You could read my story at this link on why I believe in what I do.
November / December's issue of the California Fire Service Magazine C.S.F.A puts out a monthly calendar of what, in California, where the 12 "Hot Shot" photos of the year! Included on the month of June (my birthday month) was a photograph of first responder James Ramirez of the Anaheim Fire Department saving the live of a child's cat with a their donated Pet Oxygen Mask! The emotion in her eyes tell the whole story!
We have gone from "you want us to do what?" to "this is how the hot shots do it!" in just over two years! Now that is a measurement of success!
We have come a long way from where I started, in Anaheim CA. Now over 2,500 kits have been established in the Southern California, over 300 in Colorado. We have TEAM O2 members in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Oregon who have established up to 200 kits in their areas! We have kits in almost every state and have even shown up in Germany, Japan and Canada.
I am so proud of what we do. Though today I am so proud of myself for starting all this. I found my cause greater than myself and it makes my life worth lived. I started my life with animals around me and I'll go out that way too. Have you ever heard that phrase, "some day you'll have to give back to the animals?" Well, I'd say were doing just that!