“TIP is a simple grass roots program of neighbors helping neighbors. I often refer to it as a modern-day Good Samaritan program,” Wayne Fortin, CEO and founder of TIP, said.

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Editor’s Note: This continues our Celebrate Community series on nonprofit organizations that improve Santa Rosa County residents’ quality of life.

MILTON — Trauma Intervention Programs Inc. is a national nonprofit organization, with a branch in Northwest Florida, comprising volunteers who come to the aid of those experiencing traumatic events.

“TIP is a simple grass roots program of neighbors helping neighbors. I often refer to it as a modern-day Good Samaritan program,” Wayne Fortin, CEO and founder of TIP, said. “Although TIP is simple, our volunteers make a huge difference to those they help. We know that a TIP volunteer’s immediate presence during the worst times in a person’s life is a major factor in that person’s healing process.”

TIP serves communities across the nation by partnering with local fire departments and law enforcement, and their Northwest Florida chapter serves Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. According to Mary Atkission, the national executive director, TIP NWF currently has 25 volunteers ready to assist at a moment’s notice.

“The presence of a TIP volunteer on an emergency scene does not only benefit the victim,” Fortin said. “It is also a huge relief for emergency responders and hospital personnel who are often too busy to attend to survivors.”

According to Sgt. Rich Aloy, Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, the sheriff’s office frequently uses TIP’s services.

“They are a very important partner with our organization,” Aloy said. “They are a group of top-notch individuals who provide an important service to the citizens of our area. They allow deputies and detectives the time to deal with difficult situations while victims and families are given support and guidance by TIP volunteers.”

TIP volunteers are called to action when there is an accident, natural disaster, a death, or any other traumatic event; volunteers are there to talk people through difficult times, especially those who may not have anyone to help them get through it.

Fortin, a licensed mental health professional, founded TIP in 1985 in California and established the program as a nonprofit entity in 1989. Today, he has won several awards and oversees 18 national chapters across approximately 75 cities, 100 hospitals, 67 police departments and 55 fire departments.

TIP regularly offers a training academy for those interested in becoming volunteers. No prior experience is necessary to become a TIP volunteer; however, everyone must complete the eight-day training session beginning Nov. 30 offered at the Pensacola Police Department.

Call TIP at 483-0404, or email tipnwflorida@gmail.com, for more information on the program and the training academy.