Dr. Joshua Flatow

Dr. Joshua Flatow

Medical Director

Dr. Flatow is a board-certified psychiatrist trained at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. His experience includes crisis stabilization in the emergency setting, inpatient management, counseling, and substance abuse treatment.

Dr. Sara Jackson MA, PsyD

Dr. Sara Jackson MA, PsyD

Program Director & Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Jackson is a passionate and driven bilingual psychologist who has received her Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Clinical Psychology. Having completed her Doctoral Clinical Dissertation on PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Dr. Jackson has extensive knowledge in the treatment of addiction and trauma. Always in the forefront of her profession, she continues her education with latest training’s available. Dr. Jackson utilizes cutting edge, evidence based treatments including, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Austin Gillespie

Austin Gillespie

Director of Admissions

Austin comes to First Responders First with several years of experience in the recovery industry. As Admissions Director, Austin will oversee the entire admissions process. From your initial contact with FRF, to coordinating and arranging your transportation to and from our facility and even assisting with insurance verification, Austin handles it all. He will work with your family and loved ones to insure the process of reaching out and receiving help is as easy and smooth as possible.

Stan Sorenson

Stan Sorenson

Lead Therapist

Born and raised in California, Stan Sorensen survived some turbulent childhood experiences including physical, emotional and sexual abuse; school trauma; and then the ravages of
active duty in the US Navy during the Viet Nam war. Upon discharge from the Navy, he found himself lost, alone and deeply depressed, living in a foreign country suffering with serious bouts of hopelessness and despair. Alcohol and isolation seemed to be his only relief from pain. Fortunately for Stan, he read a book on recovery that inspired him to seek sobriety and healing, which then led to a career as a mental health professional. For the past 50 years, Stan’s journey from despair has taken him through a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Sophia University in Tokyo; a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and licensure as a MFT in California; 10 years of practice in an acute care hospital; 6 years overseeing residential treatment for children and adults; 10 years of work in psychosocial rehabilitation; and 9 years of creating and directing a healing center for adults recovering from childhood abuse and other life traumas with an emphasis on holistic treatment, integrating treatment of mental, substance, and physical disorders.

Greg Maxwell

Greg Maxwell

Associate MFT

Mr. Maxwell joins “First Responders First” with over 23 years experience as a sworn law enforcement officer. He also is a member of the Crisis Negotiation Team, Peer-Support on the Officer Involved Shooting Team and currently serves as a part of the Mental Evaluation Team (MET). Having served for eight years in the United States Air Force, this First Responder is now a mental health therapist who specializes in the modality of therapy known as Cognitive Behavior. This highly-effective treatment seeks to educate the patient on how negative thoughts (Cognitive Distortions) are the cause of most mood disorders.

Wendy Colocho

Wendy Colocho

Registered Nurse

Having earned her Registered Nursing degree from Antelope Valley College in June of 2015, Wendy has a passion for mental health nursing and specializes in drug rehabilitation. Prior to becoming an RN, she worked as a LVN in the “ambulatory care” field. For the past three years, she has been a nurse for the “Department of Corrections” and has been continuing her education with the goal of earning her Masters Degree in Nursing Science.

“I believe the role of a registered nurse in a recovery center is vital. Offering the patient physical care, education, guidance and resources in the initial process of alcohol and substance abuse rehabilitation is essential for a lifelong journey toward recovery”.

Maricella Ramirez

Maricella Ramirez

Registered Nurse

Earning her degree in nursing from Antelope Valley College in 2015, Maricella has been working as a registered nurse with the “Department of Corrections” for the past three years. Her passion for nursing and “recovery” has brought her to the First Responders First team where she has used her skills to make a difference in the lives of First Responders and their families.

Maricella is currently furthering her education and will soon become a Nurse Practitioner!

Tiago Steven

Tiago Steven

Lead Registered Drug and Alcohol Technician

With four years in the recovery process himself, Tiago has a unique insight and has dedicated his life to helping those struggling with addictions. “It is an honor to give back to the First Responders who have given so much to us. These men and women deserve the best possible treatment and that is what we offer here at “First Responders First”.

Tiago is a RADT (Registered Drug and Alcohol Technician) as well as being certified in CPR, AED and first aid.

Mark Hellsund

Mark Hellsund

Registered Drug and Alcohol Technician

“I have been clean and sober for over 10 years now and I am very grateful for my recovery journey. I seek to help our First Responders begin their own journey and find their path to recovery”.

Mark is a certified RADT (Registered Drug and Alcohol Technician) and has completed his training in CPR, AED and first aid. He is currently working on his credentials to become a Drug and Alcohol Counselor.

Officer Don Powers

Officer Don Powers

In-House Chef

Don has been a First Responder for most of his life, At the age of 17. he entered the military and served in the infantry for four years. After his discharge from the Marines,,Don spent the next 21 years as a Law Enforcement Officer, three of which were spent working undercover narcotics. Officer Powers has been a member of SWAT, a Lead Homicide Investigator, a Detective as well as a Patrol and Field Training Officer,

Don can now be found in the kitchen at FRF preparing mouth-watering homemade meals for his fellow First Responders. His love of cooking and serving others is evident in his contagious smile and the incredible food that comes out of Don’s kitchen!

“I want to give back for all that has been given to me. I lost my way and FRF helped me to find it again”

Care Jo Vaughan

Care Jo Vaughan

Director of Public Relations and Outreach

“More First Responders take their own lives than die in the line of duty”.
This statement forever altered Care’s life and sparked her passion to institute change in the way PTSD, PTSI and addiction in the First Responder community is viewed and handled. “Every day these heroes give their best to us, even at the cost of their own lives. It is our turn to give back to them.” As “First Responders First” Ambassador and Director of Public Relations and Outreach, she advocates for assistance and support in the lives of these heroes and their families. Her outreach includes all departments and modalities in the First Responder community as well as in the political arena.

Care is the former Mayor of Lake Hughes, California. She is a credentialed Legal Assistant as well as a published author of two books, various short stories, and numerous magazine and newspaper articles. Her experience includes over 15 years in the hospitality and entertainment business including serving as personal assistant to a major television and film personality.

Cutty

Cutty

First Responders First Mascot

Born on November 10th, 2010 in Hollywood, California, “Cutty” was destined for fame. His incredible good looks and his charismatic personality made him a natural for stardom. Today, “Cutty” serves as our official mascot and his profile has become the logo for First Responders First.