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Kali and K-9 Frankie

K-9 Frankie

My Name is Kali Kaczmarek. I grew up in the Twin Cities Metro and my public service career started when I obtained my EMT certification in high school through OEC.
I live in Brooklyn Park with My husband Michael and I’m a proud mom to 4 young men: 11, 14, 16 and 17.
K9 Frankie came to us in October of this year. She is a mutt from a kill shelter in Missouri and was saved by Midwest Animal Rescue. We are not quite sure of her breed but what we do know is she loves to work! Don’t let her size fool you, as our old friend Bill said, “though she be but little, she is fierce”
When my kids started going to school I went back to school to get my Paramedic certification. I worked as a Paramedic in the Metro for North Memorial Ambulance Service. While working through civil unrest, the COVID pandemic and other experiences, I came to realize that I had a passion for serving a smaller community at a more personal level, specifically my own community and I began my journey towards a career in the Fire Service.
I was selected to attend Brooklyn Park Fire Department’s first Cadet Academy and I am currently a full time Firefighter at BPFD serving the best community alongside the best Public Servants.
Brooklyn Park Fire Department runs a high volume of high acuity calls including medical first response and fire/rescue based calls. We recently started a peer support program and I am one of the peer support team members.
While I choose to keep some of my experience with stress and trauma private, this is what I would like to share. Throughout my career in public service, I have found different ways to manage it. All first responders have varying levels of PTSD dependent on what they have experienced, how resilient they were going into those experiences and how they managed that stress and trauma after the experience. Personally, what I have found to be common amongst most, if not all of the roots of our trauma is Humans. Human interaction, emotion, behavior, needs, etc. and most first responders need a break from other humans to rest and recover HOWEVER in that “aloneness” is usually where the “bad stuff” happens. We don’t really want to be alone, we just want a break from other humans needing and wanting something from us. THIS is where the dogs come in. Dogs help us not feel alone, ever. And they want and need very little from us but they will GIVE us everything they have. Dogs give us hope and love. They are a reminder of the good in this world and if you’ve ever shared a true bond with a dog, YOU are their whole world. Dogs give us a reason to keep showing up to do the work because we know, no matter what happens that they will have our back. Frank and I can’t thank Soldiers 6 enough for this opportunity.

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