A few weeks ago, I mentioned on my Facebook page that there were some exciting developments under construction, and that soon an announcement would be made. That time has come! But first a little history:
It’s been seven years since I wrote my story and published it as A CHiP on my Shoulder—How to Love Your Cop with Attitude. Back then, I had no idea the book would touch so many cop wives! When I got letters from wives and then officers, I knew something special was happening. Soon I was flying to places I’d never been to speak to people I’d never met. I started blogging, and Facebook became my new friend.
That is when How2LoveYourCop became a “thing”— an operation that created resources for police families, adding content to my blog, Facebook and Twitter, articles, books, a seminar, and speaking engagements. I’ve loved every minute.
At the end of 2016 I began to rethink H2LYC in the midst of some really hard days. I realized it was either time to shut it down, or bring on more people—I chose the second option after Chief weighed in. So, on Saint Patrick’s Day 2017, How2LoveYourCop (H2LYC) became an official corporation, with tax-exemption status pending. Several have asked, why a charitable organization? I never wrote my book to make money, only to help people. When I started hearing heartbreaking stories, my creative juices got busy—and have more ideas than money! When others started offering to support H2LYC, I decided that perhaps these ideas could happen with a different approach.
During this time, another organization I have partnered with made the decision to dissolve. A key person in that organization asked if she could join their marriage and family programs with H2LYC. It was a perfect fit, so I agreed.
Through my work with Hunting for Heroes, I have come to understand the difficulties associated with those wounded in the line of duty. My trips to Montana have been the most intense weeks of the year, and have had a deep impact on my mind and heart. I’ve listened to the stories, holding back my tears (most of the time), and have deep empathy for these families who’ve experienced such trauma. The officers have their memories and injuries—and spouses become caregivers riddled with worry, single parents while their officers heal, and then many times are the ones who fight for benefits assumed are available to those hurt and/or disabled in the line of duty. This is not always the case—and there are families whose officers are abandoned by their departments or government entities if they can’t work anymore. In addition to providing help for these families, we have begun working with Wounded Officer Initiative to advocate for better benefits for those who gave everything just short of life.
Also included in this seven-year educational journey was a military book project that exposed me to the emotional toll of soldiers/flight medics/paramedics who served in Afghanistan. The interviews were emotionally charged, and I sat with grown men who had every reason to cry (and they trusted me to do so). The book, Selfish Prayer, will forever be embedded on my heart. Add to that the journey of my son in his battle with PTSD, and you understand my passion for families who’ve experienced trauma and its effects. Our resources will include more and more tools for families such as these.
So, now H2LYC is now made of two divisions—one that serves the families of active duty officers, and another that serves families that have an officer significantly wounded in the line of duty. Our organization exists to help police families in both divisions to thrive relationally, emotionally, and spiritually.
H2LYC is no longer a one-woman operation! I’ve brought on three cop wives so far, all with incredible experience and wisdom. Frances Siria, a fellow CHP wife I’ve been working with for about nine years now, is Vice President over the Active Duty division. Heidi Paulsen, the wife of a Billings PD (Montana) motor officer who was medically retired for injuries suffered in two separate accidents, is Vice President over the Wounded Officer division. Liz Brown, the wife of a Sacramento Sheriff deputy who was involved in a LODD/critical incident on October 24, 2014, is our secretary. All three of these ladies have a heart for others, and are excited to be on board. I’ve begun the process of asking some incredible people to serve on our Board of Directors—soon I’ll have names and bios up on the website.
With the expansion of H2LYC, we offer the books, blog, social media content, seminars and speaking engagements from before, but we will be adding the following:
• Conferences and Retreats for Spouses, Couples, and Wounded Officers that will include a variety of topics and speakers. Soon we will be able to bring these conferences to other areas, making it easier for smaller groups to take part.
• More Law Enforcement Books from Victoria and others
• Survival Packets for New Officers, Wounded Officers, and Critical Incident Follow-Up
• More partnerships with other organizations to create the best available resources for you
• Top Notch Videos
• Bible Studies (Partnering with Wives on Duty Ministries in September 2017!)
• Small Group Leader Training
• Family Support & Resources for Critical Incidents, PTSD, and other challenges police families face
This is just the beginning!
Soon our website will be updated to reflect these changes. We’ll have details on upcoming events, bios and pics of others in the organization, donation capability, more blog posts, ways to volunteer at our events, and other pertinent information.
How2LoveYourCop strives to build resilience in police families, while restoring hope through tried and true perspectives, principles and practices. We’ll do this as we walk together.
Victoria Newman May 9th, 2017
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