Susan Vandepol founded Families of the Fallen after the duty-related death of her husband in 2005. Its accompanying protocol supplies a model to firefighters and first responders to use when coming alongside a widow of a fallen firefighter, as well as providing firefighters with a pragmatic way to express their own grief in a way that won’t compromise all that is inherently masculine about their profession. It is now being used in departments around the country and is endorsed by experts in the fields of grief, crisis, trauma, suicide prevention, CIR, PTSD, and CISM.

The congruent “Life After Breath”  protocol was developed primarily for churches and faith-based organizations, and is a way for the Body of Christ to answer its Biblical mandate to care for widows so that they can thrive in their new role, and fulfill their set-apart calling highlighted in Luke 17 and 18.

Susan is certified in Grief, Crisis, and Trauma Counseling, Grief Coaching, Master Life Coaching, Individual Crisis Intervention, Victim Response, and Basic and Family Mediation. Her speaking engagements include women’s retreats and conferences, a keynote at the ICISF World Congress, the CSFA Convention, and the Honor Guard at the International Association of Firefighters Memorial.

Susan homeschooled her three children without ever succumbing to pressure to wear Birkenstocks, and now lives with her husband whom she shamelessly manipulated into falling in love with her. He obliged by sweeping her off her feet with a large broom. They now reside in Michigan.