Prevent Dysfunction in your Life

By Pastor Gary Cortese, Chaplain – Byron Fire District

    I’m sure most of us are familiar with the maxim, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This applies to many different areas of life.

    For example, the reason we try to eat healthy and get regular exercise is to prevent health problems later. Similarly, we perform basic routine maintenance on our vehicles to prevent premature mechanical problems. Some things are totally preventable while other things can be delayed.

    During the month of October, among other things, we’ll be hearing a lot about fire prevention. Prevention.  One Internet source defines the word prevention as “The act of preventing or impeding.  A hindrance; an obstacle” ( Marriages can erode over time.  Friendships can grow distant and cold. Relationships can deteriorate. Personal fulfillment and contentment slowly decline.  But a little prevention will go a long way to help impede or hinder these negative outcomes.

Prevention is also at the center of the purpose behind an initiative introduced by the Chaplain Division of the Byron Fire Protection District.  “First Due Family” was developed to provide faith-based support for Fire, EMS and Law Enforcement.  The ambitious goal is to eradicate dysfunction among First Responders and their families.  First Due Family is a resource to help impede and hinder corrosive behavior patterns, to help prevent failure at home, in marriage and in the personal lives of public servants.

    It’s no secret that divorce, suicide, and alcohol are very real problems among our nation’s Finest and Bravest. But there are other issues that are not as easy to quantify.  Poor parenting skills and an inability to experience true intimacy with spouses are two common examples.  Many cops don’t know how to not be a cop in their own home.  Many firefighters and paramedics are more connected and attached to their “families” at the firehouse than they are to their own spouses.  The result is more dysfunction in the home and on the job.  The overwhelming stress experienced by emergency workers on the job can leave very little patience, interaction, joy and peace of mind for those who need it the most: their own families.  Human suffering, carnage, evil and destruction are taking their toll on our home front Warriors.

    First Due Family reminds emerency workers that honor, sacrifice and duty are due first to their families at home; that service and faith go hand-in-hand ensuring the career that our firefighters, police officers and their families deserve.  First Due Family also helps bring clarity and balance to the often confusing world of political correctness and the separation of church and state.

    The Byron Fire Chaplain Division not only responds when needed to tragedy and crisis in our community, but through the First Due Family philosophy, the fire service and law enforcement chaplain is effectively deployed to serve as “dysfunction prevention” among the rank and file.


      Firefighters, Police Officers and EMS are generally well equipped and professionally trained to serve in their respective roles – it’s what communities expect and deserve. Through holistic training, education and awareness, our First Responders can also experience personal fulfillment and contentment at home – it’s what they and their families should expect and deserve. First Due Family is working hard to promote healthy life-cycles in the fire service and law enforcement communities, encouraging administrations to incorporate holistic principles and practices into the complicated culture and structured routines of fire service and law enforcement.

    The Badge and Uniform of the Police Officer and Firefighter symbolize honor, integrity, pride, service, dedication and sacrifice. They also represent nothing less than all of this at home, too.

    You can read more at or Like us on Facebook at First Due Family. A Team of Advisors is also available to help other departments develop or enhance their own faith based resources.