Kaitlin's Heart For Heroes

  • Supporting resources and services for First Responders and their families
  • Providing outreach/referral opportunities to available resources.
  • Working to reduce the stigma related to mental health among First Responders.
non-profit 501(c)(3)

Kaitlin's Heart for Heroes was established to honor the life of Kaitlin Bergan and her dedication to life as a Firefighter/Paramedic. Kaitlin valued family relationships and enjoyed spending time with her loved ones. She was a dedicatied young woman that conquered her goals, no matter the obstacles placed in front of her. When she set her sights on something, she never backed down. Knowing early in life that she dreamed of becoming a firefighter/paramedic, Kaitlin began her career as a volunteer firefighter in Coralville, Iowa while attending college at the University of Iowa. Following graduation with a BA degree in Health and Human Physiology, Kaitlin began her career as a paramedic in Anamosa, Iowa along with teaching EMS classes at the University of Iowa and as a volunteer firefighter. Life then took Kaitlin to Memphis, Tennessee where she was accepted as a Paramedic/Firefighter on their SORT Elite Team while she was in training to work in the Special Ops Station 25.    Kaitlin passed away by suicide on April 27th, 2022 at the age of 27 after suffering from PTSD. Kaitlin's family has dedicated their time to support First Responders and their loved ones experiencing similar crisis in their life.
Post Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), 3 in 10 or 30% of First Responders suffer from PTSD.

Seeking Treatment 
According to Kennedy-Hansen H. (2020 November) 57% say they fear negative repercussions if they seek help. 40% say they fear being demoted or fired if they seek help. 7 in 10 say they would willingly seek treatment if their organization leaders spoke openly about traumatic experiences.

According to the Ruderman Family Foundation report 2022, more First Responders die of suicide than in any other line of duty each year.

To #StompOutTheStigma associated with a mental health crisis in the First Responder community.
Providing hope and support to Firefighters, Paramedics, Law Enforcement Officers, and Dispatchers along with their families who may be experiencing traumatic job-strain or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that could lead to suicidal thoughts or actions.

Credit Card Donations

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Use the Venmo QR code to make Donations or Purchases.
Support Group
Jeana Arbegast, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (tLMHC) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) at Prairie Ridge Integrated Behavioral Healthcare.  She holds bachelor's degrees in Criminal Justice and Psychology, and a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Clinician's Guide for Work with First Responders provided by the First Responders Foundation.  Jeana has also completed ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), Psycological First Aid, and Mental Health First Aid.  Currently, she is being trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desenitization and Reprocessing therapy).
Besides her educational background, she also has experience working as a first responder and is a family member of a first responder. Jeana worked part-time as a 911 Dispatcher in Franklin County for five and a half years. Her husband has been in law enforement for fourteen years and her son for two years. This experience has given Jeana an understanding of the traumas and stressful situtations encountered by first responders as well as the stress and worry felt by family memebers about their loved ones. With her education background, work experience, and family connection, Jeana is driven to assist first responders and their families to find the assistance that can benefit them to live happy, well-balanced lives. Jeana currently provides mental health theraoy to children through adults and marriage therapy. Email Jeana at
Jeana.KHFH@gmail.com to be invited to the KHFH Support Group.

KHFH SUPPORT GROUP through Facebook

Any First Responder can request an invitation to our Support Group by emailing us at Kaitlinsheartforheroes@gmail.com as this is a private group for confidentiality. This support group is facilitated by Jeana Arbegast.

Hello, I’d like to introduce myself & my purpose. My name is Lorena Bergan, Co-Founder of Kaitlin’s Heart for Heroes. I’m Kaitlin’s mother. Being Kaitlin’s mom was always my number one job. Supporting her in life never stopped even after we lost her, I knew we had to continue that support. The best way to do that was to find out how best to do that. Her dad and I learned about some of her struggles and then by talking to other responders and families the stories sounded similar. This became clear to us we could help, but we needed to do this in many ways, it wasn’t just one thing. Opening a chat room would be just one of many ways to help make a difference. We will not judge, we will share our story with anyone who wants to hear it, we will protect your privacy, & expect the same in return. No one has to share, listening works. We want people in the responder world to feel comfortable, welcomed, and respected. That’s how we raised Kaitlin & her brothers. We know she had trauma related to her work that changed her. The difference is she didn’t have the tools we have or the right people around her or she’d still be here. Thank you for joining us. We are here as a safe place for you to vent, but never to diagnose. This is support for people very dear to us. You are important and valuable, you matter & this is our purpose.

Hero Care Packages

Deliver personalized care packages filled with essential items and heartfelt messages to frontline heroes.

Kaitlin's Heart For Heroes Support Group

To provide a safe place for First Responders to come virtually and have a conversation in a social setting to be heard and seen if they so choose. We encourage you to talk about anything that may be causing you to have work related stresses. This group will be led by a licensed therapist who was a first responder along with Lorena Bergan, mother of Kaitlin who died by suicide.

Hand-Made Custom Bracelets

Hand made bracelets by Lorena customized for you. $25.00 / each. Email Kaitlinsheartforheroes@gmail.com to provide details for your bracelet. Payments can be made at BRACELETS https://www.zeffy.com/ticketing/42593e57-cfb6-4e21-a46b-ca601ce20f82

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Hand-Made Custom Bracelets

Hand-Made Custom Bracelets

Hand-Made Custom Bracelets

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Come join us for an afternoon at the ball game! On June 30th at 1pm, join us at Principal Park to cheer on the Iowa Cubs! Show your support for our First Responders and our mission to #stompoutthestigma associated with mental health in the First Responder community by purchasing tickets for yourself and your friends and family. A portion of every ticket sold will directly support our work to provide hope and support to our Fire Fighters, Paramedics, Law Enforcement Officers, Dispatchers and family members who may be experiencing traumatic job-strain or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that could lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. Follow us on Facebook at Kaitlin’s Heart For Heroes or go to our website at www.kaitlinsheartforheroes.org Check out our Support Group available to our First Responders that is facilitated by a licensed therapist. First Responders can request an invite by emailing us at Kaitlinsheartforheroes@gmail.comRead More

  • Date: 6/30/2024 01:00 PM - 6/30/2024 01:00 PM
  • Location: 1 Line Drive, Des Moines, IA, USA (Map)


Past Events

Kaitlin's Heart For Heroes Breakfast & Silent Auction 13 Apr 2024Columbia Club
2023 Super Hero Walk 29 Oct 2023Central Park, Mason City, IA
Studio65 KHFH Tattoos 07 Oct 2023210 U.S. 18, Clear Lake, IA, USA
Kaitlin's Heart For Heroes Fundraiser 24 Jun 2023
KAAL News 6 interview of the Kaitlin's Heart For Heroes fundraiser 4/13/24

KAAL News 6 interview of the Kaitlin's Heart For Heroes fundraiser 4/13/24

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Ionia Volunteer Fire Department in Ionia, Iowa

Ionia Volunteer Fire Department in Ionia, Iowa

The Ionia Fire Department is a volunteer department located in the rural community of Ionia, Iowa. This department lost one of their own to a tragic accident while responding to a call. Since this tragic accident, these firefighters have been hurting from their loss.

Ionia FF Captain Tony Hoffman

Ionia FF Captain Tony Hoffman

Captain Tony was a respected member of the Ionia Fire Department who died as the result of a tragic accident while responding to a cornfield fire. Tony passed away honorably serving his community and was able to leave a final gift through organ and tissue donation. Tony will be remembered most for his signature statement "How's It going".

Ionia Volunteer Firefighters

Ionia Volunteer Firefighters

On Wednesday March 20 2024, Lorena Bergan and Brian Koob presented these volunteers with our KHFH Care Packages. These firefighters were very appreciative for receiving these care packages. They were also amazed that Kaitlin Heart For Heroes is there to support our First Responders.

Suicide Hotline

We can all help prevent suicide. The 988 Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States. CALL 988


National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) Iowa is an organization of families, friends and individuals whose lives have been affected by mental illness. Together, we advocate for better lives for those individuals who have a mental illness. Call 1-800-950-6264

Hope Beyond The Badge

The is a podcast that brings awareness about mental health in first response.

Prarie Ridge

Empower individual to live healthy purpose-filled lives on their terms

  • 1325 NW 33rd Ln, Ankeny, IA, USA

Join Kaitlin's Heart for Heroes in supporting our First Responders. They are there for us in a time of need, so let's be there for them when they need help.

Schupick & Associates

Thanks to Schupick & Associates (Tim and Denise Schupick) for their sponsorship of their time, talent and monies to support Kaitlin's Heart For Heroes.

Theisen's Home - Farm - Auto

Kaitlin's Heart For Heroes is grateful to be the recipient of one of their grants. These funds will help us build our care packages planned for those First Responders who are struggling with a metal health issue related to their job.


Thanks to Ricoh-USA Vice President Brent Taylor has donated printing services to Kaitlin's Heart For Heroes.