Within the Trenches - A year in review
During the week of 12/13/2012 I was sketching in a notebook. I had a lot going on during that time. I was well into my Masters program, studying, working in dispatch and trying my hardest to be a good father and husband. As I continued to sketch I began to reflect on a new project I was working on. The project was a new podcast named after a written segment on my blog. I was nervous about launching my Kickstarter campaign. What if I couldn’t make my goal? What if it was only something I thought was a good idea? I continued to sketch and think. My co-worker Whitney walked into the room I was in and I asked her what she thought. “I like it but the symbol makes it look like angry eyebrows.”
She handed me some reports I had printed out and we both laughed as she walked back out of the room. I stared at my sketch for a while. Finally, I added “9-1-1” to the upper right part of the vital sign. I called Whitney again and she told me that it looked good. The sketch was the logo for Within the Trenches. Although I was nervous as hell I was determined to make this project a reality. A few days after completing the logo I launched my Kickstarter campaign on 12/13/2012.
I went through a lot during that time. Planning a campaign is no easy task and promoting it is even bigger than the planning stage. Once it’s out there you have to make sure it remains in the public eye without spamming. The campaign started out strong but hit a snag. With 8 days left I had only reached $330 of the $1,500 needed to fund my campaign. I continued to promote and on January 3 2013 episode one of the podcast was broadcast live on Ustream. The episode was a hit! More pledges came in and with 36 hours left in the campaign I had received $660. I was scared. I felt like I wasn’t going to make it.
With those 36 hours left I sent an email to Gary Allen of Dispatch Monthly. I told him I wasn’t looking for money, just help with spreading the word. He helped me out and in 24 of the 36 hours left in the campaign I surpassed my goal. I remember sitting in the living room with my daughter Lola as she ate lunch. I kept refreshing the page to see if I had made it. I received a text message from my good friend and co-worker Trista that read,
“I just bought a shirt. Congrats!”
After a huge pledge from my now employer, the shirt pledge/reward was worth $25 and that was all I needed to hit the goal. I refreshed one last time and sure enough Trista’s pledge put me over. I jumped in the air with my arms up and yelled, “Woo!” as I hit the ceiling. Lola threw her arms up as well and laughed. I went to work a few hours after that for the second episode of the show and I was greeted by my co-workers with a grand applause. I was smiling from ear to ear and I remember trying to hold back my emotions because I wanted to cry from being so happy. That moment of triumph was great!
It’s been just over a year since I launched my Kickstarter campaign. 2013 was a big year for me. The show blew up and continues to grow. I spoke at Michigan’s NENA conference, made an appearance at the Mini-C conference in Boca Raton, Florida, brought the show to NENA’s National conference, recorded a part in a documentary that features hotlines and call takers in all types of jobs, recorded a segment for A&E’s Panic 9-1-1 and landed an amazing job working on the other side of 9-1-1.
Between Whitney and I, we have interviewed dispatchers from all over the United States and areas such as Australia, Canada and Ireland. It’s been an amazing year and I know that 2014 will be even bigger. I’m grateful for the support and continued support you have given me throughout this adventure. It means a lot to me. The show will continue to tell dispatch stories from those who have lived them. We are also going to educate the emergency services community as well as the public. With Google+ Hangouts serving as an open forum of 9-1-1 professionals we are going to grow and expand.
If you take anything from my experience this last year it is this, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” Thanks Doc Brown. Your words have always stuck with me. Well…you’re a character in Back to the Future and I love the movie so…well anyway, the quote is true. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! Just grit your teeth and work hard for what you want. I’m living proof. Hmm…I think I just wrote the last page of my book. Anyway, here’s to a new year, cheers!
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