Welcome and thank you for visiting our website. “Never Walk Alone” was created out of the idea of honoring a dear friend while raising awareness for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was started by one firefighter alone. His name is Claudio Navas. He is a Miami Beach firefighter and began walking the Miami half marathon in 2015 in full bunker gear and self contained breathing apparatus tank. He did this in honor of City of Miami firefighter, Danny Alvarez who lost his battle to PTSD in 2014. Danny and Claudio were friends and attended fire college together. Danny was a runner and Claudio is a runner. He felt this was the best way to honor his friend and raise awareness. Soon after, Miami Beach Police and City of Miami Police joined him. Danny’s father, Rodolfo Alvarez also began to walk the half marathon alongside Claudio. In 2018, he was joined by City of Miami Firefighters who felt they should be present, as Danny was one of their own. The name and concept of “Never Walk Alone” was started. In 2019, Danny’s son joined in on the walk, along with retired firefighters and spouses, firefighters from Miami Dade County and retired Orange County firefighter Tom “Bull” Hill. Bull, has walked from the Florida Keys to Tallahassee to raise awareness for cancer and PTSD in firefighters. This group now has over 50 walking in honor of Danny and in support of removing the stigma of post traumatic stress disorder in first responders.
The subject of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is one we are still discovering and learning about. We have not yet figured out all of the pieces to this puzzle, but here is what we do know....it is becoming a silent killer along with cancer in the fire service. It is also increasing in first responders, to include our dispatchers, Fire Rescue, emergency medical technicians, police, medical professionals and our military. In 2017, more firefighters died to PTSD than line of duty deaths. So where do we begin?
Often times, these career types are trained to “remain calm under pressure, no matter what”. We are told and trained to control our emotions and put the people we serve first. So what do we do once a terrible call is over? How do we feel when we’ve been up all night and are sleep deprived? How do we react towards our loved ones once we are home and now have time to think about what we just saw or did back at work? How does a soldier return from deployment after war? What does this do over the years to our bodies’ natural “fight or flight” response? Who do we turn to for support and what do we do to decompress? If we need help, do we ask for it? Will our peers think we are weak? If things spiral out of control, how will our decisions affect our family and friends? If our families and communities view us as superheroes....then aren’t we expected to be strong at all times?
Proceeds from our sales are currently 100% donated to our Miami Firefighters Benevolent for PTSD related items. Our goal is to come together as a community of first responders and military, to help shine a light on mental health awareness and find better ways to create support. We must start somewhere and Never Walk Alone. Thank you for your support!!!