Donor and volunteer Lyndee Venosta understands the emotional burden carried by firefighters as much as any daughter, wife or therapist possibly can, because she is all three.
A Family of First Responders
Growing up in a small town in northern California, Lyndee vividly remembers an ambulance parked in her driveway. It wasn’t always there because of an emergency. Both of her parents were first responders and took the ambulance home so they could quickly hit the road whenever dispatch gave them a call.
Over the years, Lyndee saw the sacrifices her parents made with their life of service. She also saw the emotional toll after they spent many years responding to traumatic incidents like car crashes, suicides and shootings.
“That’s significant for anybody because we’re all human,” Lyndee said. “Very few of us would see those three things in our lives, much less all of them on a regular basis.”
After Lyndee lost her father to suicide, she decided to dedicate her life to helping first responders get the emotional help they needed. She got her Masters of Counseling Psychology and Forensic Psychology and founded the Avery Centre, where psychotherapists specialize in treating trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, grief and loss.
Supporting our Firefighter Charity
Her experience at the Avery Centre has also come in handy with her favorite charity, the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund. Lyndee is a regular volunteer with the Family Support Group, which now reaches out to firefighters and their families when tragedy strikes. Widows, for example, can often feel overwhelmed by their own grief and the sudden demands of planning a funeral and burial and caring for their families.
“We will reach out to new widows and walk with them and normalize things and be there for questions,” Lyndee said. “Often times somebody just needs someone to just sit there and be with them.”
After growing up the child of first responders, Lyndee is now married to LAFD Firefighter Engel Luistro of Fire Station 33 in South Los Angeles. They started raising money together for the Firemen’s Fund in 2015 through the Los Angeles Marathon. Avery Centre sponsored the charity’s L.A. Fire running team in 2017 and in 2018, Lyndee ran for the team and raised $500 for the charity.
“I try to give back however I can,” Lyndee said.
Overall, Lyndee hopes her work through the Avery Centre, the Family Support Group and fundraising helps give other families the emotional support they need to do their jobs. She hopes all first responders and their loved ones find healthy ways to cope with the day to day stress of the job.
“Every time you come across trauma, it’s kind of like little tiny stressers,” Lyndee said. “It’s like a pressure cooker. Sometimes that pressure cooker is going to explode unless you are doing something positive to let out that pressure.”
By Kate Cagle
www.averycentre.com 5871 Pine Avenue. Suite 230 Chino Hills, CA. 91709 (909) 597-2226