The mission of MY ARENA is to help our community of first responders find peace, healing, and strength as they navigate the mental health challenges during their careers. We will teach our community to embrace the power of their story and help them see they are not alone during these battles. This will be achieved by providing training to first responders and their families, giving them tools and resources to stay healthy while serving. Finally, we will educate agencies on how to appropriately handle critical incidents for the employees involved and provide critical response care when needed.
When I first recognized I needed help I was full of shame and felt like a failure. I have learned this feeling is the norm and is why many do not seek formal care. My therapist, Jennifer Cooper, prepared a meditation night for me and two other men struggling with the same feelings. The meditation night was called “The Man in the Arena'' revolving around the speech by President Theodore Roosevelt called “Citizenship in a Republic'', given on April 23, 1910. This night became a source of strength during my therapy and it changed how I viewed asking for help. I learned the critic did not count and I was the one who had shed blood, sweat, and tears in the arena, so I ignored the noise of everyone else. Please take a few minutes and listen to the core of this speech and maybe it will provide you strength as well.
The Man in the Arena: Citizenship in a Republic by Teddy Roosevelt
GET TO KNOW TRAVIS GRIBBLE
My name is Travis Gribble and I am a retired 24 year law enforcement veteran. I spent 11 years in Michigan where I worked as a deputy, deputy sergeant, and SWAT team commander. In 2008 I made a lateral move to Mesa Police Department in Arizona. Mesa is a city of 520,000 and 850 sworn police officers. In Mesa I worked as a patrol officer, patrol sergeant, SWAT assistant team
leader, and SWAT sergeant team leader. During the course of my career I was a part of countless critical incidents and I always thought none of the calls were affecting me. In 2016 I experienced what I now know to be a life-changing call. For five years after the call I never sought appropriate help and I was slowly self-destructing within. As the years and calls went by my cup was reaching capacity and in 2021 I was brought to my knees. Thankfully I was put in touch with a therapist who specializes in first responder care and I began the journey of healing.
It was then I learned to live life in a much better way, but due to the extent of the trauma I decided I would seek retirement. In 2022 I was awarded a post-traumatic stress injury retirement and my current journey began. Only one short month after my retirement and through unplanned circumstances, I was given the opportunity to share my story with a leadership group
of SWAT operators. The response to my raw story while sharing lessons learned by me and my agency was nothing short of amazing. From that day forward I continued sharing my story on podcasts, at law enforcement conferences, and through a social media platform. This path has now turned into creating a community and advocating for first responders mental health well-being. I have created the organization “My Arena” where we are dedicated to provide training for individual first responders, their families, and agencies. This community will stand for one very specific concept: you’re not alone! I am working with like-minded organizations and providers to smash the stigma of getting help while providing a landing spot for those who need to see they are not alone. I now live in the mountains of Montana with my wife Emily where we are establishing roots and chasing our dreams.
The wolf, a majestic animal commanding respect while facing adversity everyday. A wolf will look at the trials it encounters in the arena, knowing without a doubt they will overcome it! The strength and resilience the wolf displays is passed from generation to generation, just as we intend to do with My Arena. The most significant piece of my logo is the right eye and as you can see it is the color “Ruby”. This is to honor the child I rescued from my call in 2016. Her story brought me to where I am today and is the reason I am able to provide hope for healing in first responders everywhere.