Meet the 2nd Alarm Project Team

Kellie O’Dare, Ph.D.

Executive Director / Founder

Dr. Kellie O’Dare is an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management with the Institute of Public Health at Florida A&M University and the Founder and Executive Director of the 2nd Alarm Project. She is the Principal Investigator on $5.5 million in federal and state funding for first responder resiliency initiatives.

Dr. O’Dare has actively worked with dozens of Florida based agencies to conduct needs assessments, provide capacity building for peer support teams, and develop BHAP programs. She has conducted mental health training with hundreds of first responders, family members, and leadership teams and functioned as a behavioral health navigator and clinical advisor to peer support teams. She has also served on local and statewide critical incident activations and deployments, including to Surfside, FL in 2021 and Hurricane Ian in 2022. She frequently provides consultation and technical assistance to first responder organizations across the country on best practices in building mental wellness programs.

Dr O’Dare holds a Ph.D. in Social Work from Florida State University, where she also earned both Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master in Public Administration (MPA) degrees. She is an active researcher with over 50 publications, technical reports, and conference presentations, and has significant experience conceptualizing, designing, implementing, and evaluating large scale quantitative, geospatial, and mixed method research projects in both academic and applied settings.

Dr. O’Dare has meaningful personal linkages to the first responder community. She is the niece of Shawn T. O’Dare, firefighter/paramedic killed in the Line of Duty in Miami-Dade County, and the spouse of a current professional Florida panhandle firefighter/paramedic.

Brandy Carlson-Moore, MSW

Deputy Director

Brandy is the Deputy Director of the 2nd Alarm Project. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from Florida State University with a specific focus in policy, leadership and administration. Brandy’s work at 2nd Alarm Project includes training first responders on developing Behavioral Health Access Programs (BHAPs) and leadership in mental wellness for first responders. She was instrumental in the creation of the BHAP Toolkit which serves as the foundational resource for 2nd Alarm Project’s BHAP capacity building and technical assistance efforts with first responder departments. She also provides direct supervision and oversight to first responders, clinicians, and other BHAP subject matter experts on the team. After over 23 years in working to increase individual safety, well-being, and organizational health, she has a deep and diverse skillset in working with leadership teams, first responders, clinicians, and direct social service providers.

Prior to working at the 2nd Alarm Project, Brandy served as President of Strategic Empowerment Consulting working with organizations in various capacities including: grant writing, strategic planning, leadership development, curriculum development, and mitigating burnout in the workplace. Brandy has served on nine statewide advisory committees and conducted over 500 trainings on a wide variety of topics such as Board Governance, Critical Incident Leadership and Support, Crisis and Disaster Management, Mental Health Awareness, and Strategic Planning. Previously, in her work to end domestic violence, she and her team trained hundreds of first responders on handling best practices in handling domestic violence crimes. Her professional roles have included direct service work, middle management, and executive leadership. Brandy is married to her best friend Dan who is a Firefighter Engineer at the Tallahassee Fire Department. She is a mom to two amazing little ones that keep her learning and growing daily.

Michelle Rehbein, LMHC, MCAP

Lead Clinician/Behavioral Health Navigator

Michelle is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Master’s Level Certified Addiction Professional (MCAP). She also serves as the lead clinician for 2nd Alarm Project. Michelle is one of just a few endorsed Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) providers in the state. She has focused her clinical efforts on treating responders struggling with compound issues, including PTSD, trauma, anxiety, substance use, and other mood disturbances. She has significant experience providing clinical oversight to peer support teams, delivers mental health awareness in service and peer support trainings, and has served on many critical incident/clinician response team deployments. Michelle is passionate about serving our first responders and provides high-quality, evidence-based trauma treatment to our community members in need.

Bob Wells

First Responder Outreach Coordinator

Bob Wells retired in 2019 after 25 years at South Walton Fire District as a Sergeant Paramedic. Prior to retirement, he was assigned to the Technical Rescue Team, “The Squad” +aand had been a part of various committees and taught EMS-related courses within the Department. He was also active in community CPR Program, teaching in businesses, Day Cares and Churches. He currently serves on South Waltons Peer Support Team and has deployed to other departments and areas to be a Peer Supporter to other First Responders. He currently works at 2nd Alarm Project as a Department Liaison with the goal of reaching every First Responder and Agency.

Latanya Peterson

Program Coordinator

Latanya Peterson is a Project Coordinator, with over 10 years helping public companies with program management and strategic planning. She specializes in organizational leadership and has a wealth of expertise in strategies to engage audiences on specific interest related to the needs of the organization.

Leah Atwell, MPH

Evaluation Coordinator

Leah holds a Master of Public Health from Florida State University. She has over a decade of experience working in public health mainly working in surveillance and evaluation. Prior to working at the 2nd Alarm Project, she worked in a variety of positions at the Florida Department of Health and the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Lance Butler

Peer Support Team Coordinator

Lance is an Engineer/Paramedic with the Tallahassee Fire Department (TFD) and the He has been with TFD since January 2015, and has been in the fire service since 2007. He is also a member of the Tallahassee Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Response team. Lance has been the leader of TFD’s Peer Support team since its inception in September of 2019 and is now working with the 2nd Alarm Project to bring awareness of mental health issues and resiliency among first responders to TFD as well as surrounding first responder agencies in Florida. He also serves as the NW Regional Coordinator for the FL Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative Statewide Peer Team. Lance has served on several significant statewide Peer Team deployments, including responding to the NAS Pensacola shooting, Bay County Wildfires, Hurricane Ian, as well as multiple local agency critical incident response efforts.

Lauren Pierce, PhD, MPH

Program Evaluator and Methodologist

Dr. Lauren Pierce is a private consultant specializing in public health surveillance, evaluation, data collection, analysis and visualization. Dr. Pierce holds a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Florida State University where she also earned her Master in Public Health (MPH) and Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and Anthropology. In her previous role at the Florida Department of Health, Dr. Pierce helped design and implement large scale program evaluation and data collection projects to support tobacco-use prevention and control, cancer prevention and chronic disease. She also managed the Department’s population-level data collection for chronic disease and tobacco control.

Steve Suarez, MS, NRP

Struggle Well Training Coordinator

Steve Suarez is in his 22nd year as a Paramedic, serving the majority of that time at Leon County EMS. Throughout his time with Leon, Steve served in a number of roles including Shift Captain, Training Captain, and Accreditation Manager. He was a member of the local CISM team, participating in several disaster deployments and in the response to local Mass Casualty and Critical Incidents. In 2010, he led the effort to make Leon County EMS the first ever, fully accredited, municipal EMS agency in Florida. He has over 15 years of experience in adult instruction through his work as a BLS, ACLS, and PALS instructor, among other courses. While he has extensive experience in policy development and program implementation, one of Steve’s true passions continues to be direct patient care. He is board certified in both Adult Critical Care Transport and Neonatal-Pediatric Critical Care Transport and has authored published research on advanced prehospital resuscitation. Steve is currently the Chief Paramedic/EMS Director for Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare and still works one or two shifts a month with Survival Flight out of their Tallahassee base.

A Miami native, Steve is grateful to call North Florida home and enjoys spending time with friends and family during his off time. Steve recognizes the role that good self-care and healthy support systems play in being able to work effectively as a First Responder. In partnership with the Boulder Crest Foundation, Steve is coordinating 2AP’s offering of regional Struggle Well courses. Struggle Well training teaches participants how to integrate healthy principles into their lives and is based on the science of Posttraumatic Growth.

Lt. Jeffrey Orrange

BHAP Subject Matter Expert

Jeff Orrange is in his 27th year as a fire fighter, 19 of which have been served with the Orlando Fire Department. He is currently a Lieutenant Paramedic on an Engine Company and previously Jeff served for 2-1/2 years as a Lieutenant in the Training Division. Jeff is a husband, father and friend. Armed with passion, empathy, a great support system and a willingness to help those who mean the most to him, Jeff Orrange has co-founded the Orlando Firefighters Peer Support Team. Jeff is a founding member of the Orlando Firefighters Peer Support team. His team has been deployed following the Pulse tragedy, Las Vegas Shooting, the Parkland shooting, the Surfside Condo collapse and many others. Jeff has been promoting mental wellness through grassroots efforts for many years. He believes that making it through this career mentally as well as physically is paramount. Jeff currently has the honor of serving as the State-Wide Peer Coordinator for the Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative (FFSHC). As Peer Coordinator, he is responsible for coordinating with industry leaders, and related agencies to facilitate professional standards, diversified training opportunities, deployments, and other related actives.

Donna Brown

Training and Capacity Building Coordinator

Donna graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor of science degree in Criminology. She was a police officer with the Tallahassee Police Department retiring after twenty-six years of service. Ten of those years were spent as the Detective Sergeant overseeing the department’s Homicide Unit. Donna is an award-winning author of the Behind and Beyond the Badge series that focuses on humanizing the badge and mental health of all first responders.

During her career at TPD, Donna was also a Field Training Officer, a Field Training Sergeant, a State of Florida certified law enforcement instructor, and worked in the department’s Training Unit. Donna enjoys helping other law enforcement agencies create and expand their wellness initiatives and providing training to assist in those endeavors.

Crystal Pruitt

Family Support Coordinator

Crystal Pruitt, 2nd Alarm Project’s Family Support Coordinator, is a firefighter wife and mother/bonus mom to 5 kids, 4 boys and 1 girl. She is currently studying early childhood education and pursuing a psychology degree. She is a member of the Monticello Volunteer Fire Department and has been for the last 2 years. Crystal has been passionate about the 2nd Alarm Project since her husband deployed to Surfside and 2AP helped her family after that tragedy. Crystal’s work with 2nd Alarm Project focuses on family and extended family of first responders and making sure they are all getting the help and support they need. Crystal is excited about providing support for first responder families and building connections throughout first responder agencies.

Marchelle Dunston-Lawrence

Administrative Assistant

(Bio coming soon.)

Patrick McCorry, LCSW

Behavioral Health Navigator

Patrick is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and MSW graduate of the University of West Florida. He completed the Fire Service Clinician Awareness Program at Hillsborough County Fire-Rescue (HCFR). His clinical practice includes delivering evidence-based interventions to first responders and other populations. He provides clinical supervision and training to peer support teams and serves on critical incident response teams in his Circuit. Patrick is also a vetted provider on Redline Rescue and a mental health clinician referral for the IAFF Center of Excellence.

Nicole Troelstrup, LMHC, CFRC

Behavioral Health Navigator

Nicole Troelstrup is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified First Responder Counselor. She earned a Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University and has provided individual and group counseling services, crisis management, and clinical case management to both adolescent and adult populations. In January 2021, Nicole joined the Leon County Sheriff’s Office to assist in developing a holistic employee wellness and resiliency program. Nicole’s current role includes identifying and implementing resources and initiatives that support mental health and overall wellness, to reduce the impact of job-related trauma and improve the overall quality of life, for agency members and their families. Nicole is passionate about serving those that serve our communities and hopes to use her clinical background to build more trauma-informed organizations.

Sara Newhouse, LCSW

Behavioral Health Navigator

Sara is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Social work from Florida State University. During the first eleven years of her career she worked as a Victim Advocate providing crisis intervention and support services to victims of crime. While assisting members of the community Sara developed a passion for helping her peers in the first responder community. She recognized how resilient first responders are, but also the need to provide them the best resources from peer support, and culturally competent clinicians, to familial support, and retirement planning.

Sara holds certification in Peer Support, Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), and many victim practitioner oriented trainings. She is a member of the Florida Crisis Response Team (FCRT), has participated on numerous boards and committees related to victim services, and received the Florida Attorney General’s 2018 Distinguished Victim Services Award. Sara is currently the Behavioral Wellness Coordinator for the Tallahassee Police Department, and works to build out resources for first responders in our region in her role with 2nd Alarm Project.

Christy Carpenter, LMHC, NCC

Behavioral Health Navigator

Christy Carpenter is a Registered Mental Health Counselor and National Board Certified Counselor. She earned a Master of Science degree in Counseling and Psychology from Troy University, as well as a Master of Science Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from Florida State University. Christy was formerly a middle/high school teacher and school administrator and worked closely with first responders in this role. She began her counseling career at Anchorage Children’s Home in Panama City, providing youth and family counseling for families in crisis. Christy has experience in trauma counseling, ADHD, PTSD and counseling first responders. Christy enjoys her role supporting first responders as they seek quality mental health support.

Courtney Williams, LCSW

Courtney is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a graduate of Saint Leo University. As a native of Madison County, she has provided trauma-informed care to individuals, families, and groups throughout North Florida. Her experience extends across various mental health settings, including outpatient, inpatient, and residential treatment, as well as the judicial system and community-based mental health organizations. Passionate about providing trauma treatment to those navigating life after a stressful or traumatic event, Courtney frequently utilizes specialized treatment modalities such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Cognitive Processing Therapy in her clinical work. 

Serving as the Clinical Director with A New Dawn, A New Beginning in Taylor County, Courtney frequently collaborates with various agencies and first responders within the community. Through her involvement with the 2nd Alarm Project, she strives to narrow the divide between first responders and the essential resources within the local community, ultimately promoting resilience and mental wellness amongst the first responder population.

Kristen Hightower

Grants and Fiscal Specialist

Kristen was born and raised in Tallahassee.  After moving and living in many places, she has returned to her hometown with her husband and two young daughters. With over 12 years’ experience as a military spouse, she understands firsthand the demands and unique lifestyles of military families. She is a licensed RN, BSN and enjoys contributing to the mission of 2nd Alarm Project. 

Kevin Briley

Struggle Well Training

Kevin has worked as a paramedic in Tallahassee for over 15 years. He is currently a Captain assigned to field operations with Leon County EMS. He is also an adjunct faculty member with Tallahassee Community College’s EMS programs. Kevin believes in the importance of good self-care and strong support network in order to have a successful career as a first responder. Originally from South Florida, Kevin, relocated to Tallahassee for college when he started working in EMS. In his time away from work, Kevin enjoys, traveling, camping, and spending time with his wife and children.