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Our Mission

Our Mission

To extinguish Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among first responders.

Who We Serve:

A first responder is; "a person with specialized training who is among the first to arrive and provide assistance or incident resolution at the scene of an emergency." This includes and is not limited to active & retired:

  • Firefighters

  • Police

  • Emergency Medical Technicians 

  • Utility Workers

  • Emergency Dispatchers

  • Medical Providers

  • Corrections Officers

  • The loved ones of all the above


Our Story

Brendan McCarthy and Edmund Dalo are former career firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and 911 dispatchers. They worked in the field for over twenty years combined and live with job-related mental health diagnoses, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While working together, the duo bonded over a love of music and writing. That bond evolved into a brotherhood while they navigated their worsening mental health symptoms.

“Brendan was intuitively creating abstract paintings to cope, which were stunning. The paintings were often damaged and left outside; I thought if we organized the collection and tried to sell them, it would help Brendan, as he was in a tough situation. My brother Michael was the first buyer,” Edmund recalls.

Brendan knew there was more to Edmund’s interest and invited him to paint one day. “I held the puke bucket for him,” Brendan jokes.


“This creative process was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. To my horror and relief, this process exposed my inner world and subsequently changed my life.” 


They named the end product of this peer-supported, un-judged, and intuitive creative process an “Authentic Abstraction” and started selling their works with unexpected success. As their portfolio expanded and conditions improved, they realized the potential to help others again was in reach. From this, the Authentic Abstraction First Responder Foundation was born.


"Art went from a coping strategy to deal with the unfortunate realities of our work as firefighters to now being the gasoline and ignitor to the new fire we will be fighting - The fire of activism and advocation, creating, connecting, and healing."

Meet the Team

Board of Directors

Extended Team

Answer The Call!

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