Beyond the Call: First Responders Share Their Stories

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Angela Harrolle talks with Carey Pena about the hit podcast, “The Call”, and how it is helping humanize what First Responders go through every single day. Almost 10 years ago, her husband, DPS Officer/Paramedic Bruce Harrolle, died while trying to rescue two lost and stranded hikers near Sedona. Today Angela continues to honor his memory by launching this podcast.

“The Call” was recently honored by Phoenix New Times as one of the best podcasts.

Angela is president of 100 Club of Az and host of “The Call”. Allie Nassar is the podcast producer and so much more. Both Angela and Allie are dedicated to bringing to life the deeply personal stories told by First Responders beyond “The Call”.

Ten years ago, Angela’s husband was at work on just another regular 24-hour shift as a DPS Officer. She was at home, getting her young children ready for bed, when her daughter said there was someone at their door. On this beautiful October day, Angela saw a DPS flight suit flanked by several smoky hats. She knew it couldn’t be good. Her husband, Bruce Harrolle, had been struck by the helicopter rotor blade and fatally injured during the rescue of the two hikers.

The unimaginable had happened. Angela never believed she would have to plan a funeral for her husband or tell her children that their daddy was not coming home.

Known as a big story teller, Bruce had kept records of his stories, and Angela wanted to share these stories with the community. Stories people would want to hear.

Allie’s father is a retired Phoenix firefighter, and her husband is joining Arizona Fire and Medical. The 100 Club of AZ had helped put Allie through college. Upon graduation, she didn’t know what she wanted to do next. She went back to 100 Club where she interned and met Angela, who offered her a job. A podcast “geek”, Allie was instrumental in bringing “the Call” to fruition which gave her an opportunity to help Angela bring the stories to life.

“The Call” is a podcast whose mission is telling the stories of First Responders. Stories that never get shared. Be it a life altering situation for a community member, something inspirational they did, or even something scary, the stories get told from their own perspective. Angela and Allie have interviewed a Phoenix PD officer shot in line of duty and completed a series on the Miranda Rights featuring Carol Cooley, who was the arresting officer behind the Miranda case.

Allie said that growing up her dad seemed invincible. He had stories he shared, but it was through the stories he told on “The Call” she learned what his career had been like. She heard, for the first time, about a roof that had collapsed while he was alone on the third floor of a club, fighting a dangerous fire, when he thought he was going to die. Through these insane stories she realized that her father and other First Responders aren’t invincible.

Both Angela and Allie knew that a podcast was a great way to humanize the work the First Responders do every day by telling their stories.

As President of the 100 Club, Angela has concerns for the mental health of all First Responders. Her goal is that through storytelling, “The Call” podcast, and the work done by the 100 Club, support can be provided. She goes on to say, “We are the men and women that stand behind the men and women that wear the badge.”

Angela explains that First Responders cannot have a bad day when they show up for a call. Instead, they continually carry the weight of their experiences on their shoulders. And it can accumulate

Angela is proud of the 100 Club and the outlets they provide for both the physical injuries you can see and those injuries that are not seen, like PTSD. The 100 Club offers great resources like, a 24-7 support line dedicated to public safety officers with specially trained call takers.

DPS officers, especially law enforcement, are often sent out on their own, with no one to talk to. They go from call to call with no time to decompress. Angela goes on to say that not only is it important for them to decompress, but it is important for the family to have support as well. The goal is to have online health and wellness tools available to them all.

One story Angela shares is about her husband’s close friend and colleague, who was asked to fly up to the rescue site after her husband’s death and put his friend’s body in the body bag. Afterwards, he kept checking on Angela to see how she was doing. This officer, an honor guard, would let Angela know he was okay and that everything was good. Yet just two years later, he took his own life. Sometimes everything they have to do and see is too much. First Responders are human.

Angela acknowledges the community. People want to help. So, she reminds us to just say “Thank You”.