Stephen Kavalkovich- Keynote Speaker, Show Host, Consultant, Addiction Expert

Stephen Kavalkovich, host of Rescue the Rescuer and CEO of Rescue Consulting, served as a paramedic for most of his adult life. His most memorable work was at the World Trade Center on 9-11-01. Although his work during this event left a lasting impression on him, his most impactful lessons came from his work as a paramedic in the state of New Jersey. Stephen saw numerous victims of overdose, reviving many of them. He was often saddened by his colleagues that treated
patients poorly due to ignorance and lack of compassion for suffering addicts. Little did he know that one day he would be the one who would need revival. After 15 years as a paramedic, he fell into drug addiction. Not long after he started using, he began stealing pills from patients’ medicine cabinets and from the medical bags he carried.

Stephen overdosed multiple times and after being revived by former colleagues, he lost his certification, career, marriage, and children. Eventually, he was able to overcome his addiction, stopped working towards his grave, and started working towards healing in a recovery program.

Stephen endeavors to open up the conversation about addressing the underlying pain, trauma, and lack of coping skills that makes one decide to self-medicate. Stephen knows first hand that no one is immune to addiction. He shares his story to give others the courage to voice their pain. He believes pain shared is pain lessened.
Stephen is an expert in Emergency Medical Care, First Responder PTSD, and Substance Abuse issues. He is also a Recovery Coach, consults in Interventions, and is well versed in leadership and spiritual guidance. He is a charter member of the Southern Delaware Toastmasters International Club.

Stephen is available for coaching, mentorship, speaking engagements, guest interviews, content production, and consultation services. Stephen is proud to be the host and creator of the Rescue the Rescuer show, one of the only shows specifically addressing first responders who battle mental health issues including PTSD, Substance Abuse Disorder, Suicide and more. His show is hosted on the Mental Health News Radio Network where he also serves as the Director of Network Development. Stephen is the President of Rescued Consulting, a firm that specializes in program development, implementation, and lecturing. He is also a Recovery Specialist in the Opioid Overdose Recovery program with Oaks Integrated Care in NJ.

Stephen’s story is featured on the centerforaddcition.org website and media campaign. Stephen is regularly sought out for national international TV, podcasts, and print media for his expertise. He was also a cast member of This is My Brave- Philadelphia and is currently producing the NJ production.

Client Testimonials

Brian Cuban

"Stephen has that rare quality of authenticity. He is genuine, caring, and most of all passionate about addiction recovery. I’ve
enjoyed hearing Stephen’s personal testimony and look forward to seeing where his giftings take him in the future. He has truly
taken advantage of his second chance at life. Not only has he reinvented himself, but he has also reached numerous people who
need to hear his story of redemption."

Brian Cuban
Younger brother of Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban
Author of The Addicted Lawyer
Addiction recovery advocate

Marty Mayes

"I am always open my story and history. I hope it can help someone else not go down the same path. With that said, Stephen has a way of getting a little extra out of me in an interview. I knew he would take the ugly parts of my life and help me weave a great lesson for all to hear. No judgement, no expectations, he made it very easy to tell it like it was. I recommend anyone to go on his show. Share your story, the good, the bad and the ugly. He won't betray your trust."

Marty Mayes,
Chief of the Asylum
The Fire Asylum (c) 2015 Marty Mayes

Kristin Sunanta Walker

"Stephen Kavalkovich is a unique human being. His passion for first responders speaks to the very nature of those that choose this as their profession. Dive in to help others regardless of the sacrifice. He brings that same passion to his writing, speaking, and podcast. Our network is honored to have his show on our platform and to promote his tireless advocacy for the first line caretakers of the world."

Kristin Sunanta Walker
CEO, everythingEHR
CEO, MHNR Network
Host, Mental Health News Radio

James Healy

"Stephen Kavalkovich is a true gem in the world of inspirational speakers. Knowledgeable, experienced, and with a story that motivates, he has a reputation for building meaningful relationships with his clients and, thereby, precisely meeting their needs. He is a model that all speakers, not just those in the hope and inspiration field, should look at and emulate."

 James Healy
Recovery Innovators

Natale Verrecchio

"We had Stephen Kavalkovich spoke at one of our events. He was truly a moving speaker, He was so moving that he has since been working with one of our group member to change his life around. I would recommend Stephen for any speaking needs you may have."

Natale Verrecchio
Founder, Abbie and Krystal's Angels

Dan Willis

"I highly recommend Steve and his show Rescue the Rescuers. Steve is driven by his heart to help those who protect and serve us. My experience in working with him is that his own personal journey has made him a compassionate and most compelling spokesman for healing and transformation. He is most definitely making a positive difference in people's lives."

Dan Willis
Captain (ret) La Mesa Police
Founder-FirstResponderWellness.com
Author-Bulletproof Spirit - The First Responders Essential Resource for Protecting and Healing Mind and Heart.

SEE EVEN MORE TESTIMONIALS!

"Stephen has a true servant's heart! His drive to help others so
selflessly represents his passion and calling. His gift is his
ability to connect with others on such a real level."

Tania Glenn
PsyD, LCSW, CCTP Principal, Dr. Tania Glenn & Associates, PA


"Working with Stephen was a pleasure. He created a comfortable atmosphere where it was easy to talk with him.
Being in the mental health field for the past 30 years and the Fire Service for 28 years, knowing Stephen was a firefighter and is open with his own mental health, made it natural for me to discuss the sensitive topics of behavioral health and treatment. Further, Stephen’s professionalism as the host was recognized and appreciated. I would easily talk with him again on his podcast and recommend others to do the same."

Daniel DeGryse
B.A., CADC, CEAP, LAP/C Director, Rosecrance Florian Program Rosecrance Harrison Campus,
Battalion Chief, Chicago Fire Department


"As founder of FBHA, I have come to meet many people in the first responder arena who have become involved in
helping our brothers and sisters...but Stephen's passion and dedication towards making a positive change towards
behavioral health issues is one that will always come to mind because of his dedicated efforts...keep up the good
work my brother!"

Jeff Dill
Founder, Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance


"The other day, I had the opportunity to be Stephen’s guest on his podcast, Rescue the Rescuer. It was one of the most enjoyable endeavors I’ve had the pleasure to be involved with, certainly in my post-active fire service career.

During our 45-minute conversation, Stephen posed some great questions that I found very germane to the discussion of firefighter and EMS mental health issues and how post-traumatic stress is having an adverse impact on those groups.

 I’ve been writing about these issues for fire and EMS providers now for about three years because I believe I have a responsibility to do so as a means of “paying forward” because I survived my 26-year fire service career with both my mental and physical health in good shape.

I think that Stephen is equally motivated by his EMS experiences and his drug addiction as he tried to cope with the job stress. I see Rescue the Rescuer as being a valuable addition to the ongoing conversation, not just about raising the awareness for these issues, but also for ultimately finding solutions."

Robert Asvec
Former Battalion Chief.
Chesterfield Fire and EMS, Author


"I met Stephen a few months ago through a friend. I am holding an event and am not a public speaker and fear crowds. I asked Stephen to "MC" my event and he did not hesitate. I have listened to several of his pod casts and he is well spoken, clear, and truthful and hits addictions topics that most won’t touch. Thank you Stephen! Please continue to tell your, and others, stories as well as you do. You sir, have a way with words."

Christine Katilus-Hoff
Founder Shouting4Shelby


"I have had the extreme pleasure of working alongside Stephen K. on the front lines of our national epidemic.  Working with individuals and families who have lifesaving needs requires grounded individuals who are extremely reliable, understand urgency, and whom one can emotionally connect. I've witnessed Stephen effectively mentor with compassion, truth, and positivity. Stephen is regarded as one of our core individuals who we can count on with one’s life and trust one million percent!"

Anne Gutos
Co-Founder King's Crusade 


"I run an addiction support group, page and nonprofit organization in Australia that helps people get the quality treatment they need when they can't afford it. Spreading our message is what it's all about and when I first read one of Stephen's blogs I realized what an asset this man is. I reached out to Stephen and asked if he would share within our group and he was only to happy to help which to me speaks volumes of his character. His genuineness and compassion together with his honest and profound words have helped many people and continue to do so. Stephen is a beautiful man with a very kind soul and I'm forever grateful that our paths have crossed as he carries the message of hope and inspiration like no other."

David Gale
@hopeforhumanityatg

Keynote Speaking

Stephen is dynamic speaker with the gift of touching to he very soul with the words that he speaks. His is completely transparent and raw in the things he shares in an effort to offer hope, inspiration, and to help transform the lives of anyone who hears him. Stephen's hope is to take his experiences from childhood trauma, sexual abuse, and career as a first responder turned heroin addict into an illustration of the awesome power to overcome our challenges and turn them into a renewed purpose. Stephen was born to speak to the crowds and you will walk away changed from one of his events.

Program Development & Facilitation

Utilizing his experience as a first responder who struggled with the sometimes debilitating nature of mental health issues, substance abuse, and PTSD, Stephen is able to help you create an impactful and life changing program. He does this for substance abuse treatment centers, municipalities, and community organizations with a special emphasis on first responders.

He also has years of experience as client of such services which contributes too him knowing what people need and want. He can help you design something unique that will make your organization stand out from the crowd and make a true difference.

Contact Stephen Today to learn more.

Expert Witness Testimony

Stephen’s expertise has been sought after and courts of law for the use of for the purposes of testifying in criminal and civil cases regarding substance abuse disorder , post traumatic stress disorder,  mental health issues in general and first responders. His experience  as a paramedic for 15 years and a teacher of emergency medical technicians has made  him a  highly qualified expert in a wide array of legal matters. 

Content Development & Article Writing

Stephen has been writing  for a number of years for multiple publications across the Internet including history of being the primary content creator for stopfryingyourbrain.com. His words have also been seen in InRecovery magazine, Facingaddiction.org, and for the Mental Health News Radio Network among others. Stephen has also been selected to write passages and chapter for upcoming books and other print materials. His  creative use of the English language is unique and has a way of jumping off the page. As a way of reaching the readers in a way that truly speaks to them and conveys a complex ideas thoughts and wisdom. He is available to consult for you for your next project whether it be a short articles or longer publications.  Trust me you won’t be disappointed.

Articles, News, & Examples

Explore Stephen's work, media appearances, writing, and more by visiting the Rescued Consulting blog below.

The Center On Addiction Featured Video

The Center On Addiction Featured Video

I have been blessed to be a part of the new video campaign for the Center on Addiction. Check out the video here:

https://www.centeronaddiction.org/

Roundtable: The Opioid Epidemic

Roundtable: The Opioid Epidemic

Continuing our influential roundtable series on topics important to South Jersey, SJ Magazine’s Marianne Aleardi hosted 13 SJ leaders to discuss the widespread opioid epidemic. Participants shared passionate stories of their first-hand experiences working to combat the growing problem.  

On what people say about addiction… 

I hear this one a lot: “Didn’t they know better?” My message is: Look at me. I knew better. I treated probably 1,000 overdoses in my career as a paramedic. However, when it came down to an opportunity to numb hurtful things in my life, it just became an easy road to go down. If it was as simple as knowing better, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

My Story Featured on FacingAddiciton.org

My Story Featured on FacingAddiciton.org

As I sit here and reflect on a life riddled with hurt, shame, and failure, my gratitude overflows. I am exceedingly blessed to share my experience as a means of lending you the courage to speak your truth. The deep, inner hurts that we carry can only die in the light of exposure. Our struggles are how we connect with each other and paradoxically lend us our greatest strengths.

I was the last of triplet boys and for some reason always felt like I was the crap left over, unworthy and insignificant. I was puny, uncoordinated, and had big glasses at a young age. I can still hear the echo of the harsh words that the cool kids would say.

I was the kid who cried at soccer camp and had to be picked up at lunchtime on the first day by my mother. I can remember when puberty hit, the desire for a girlfriend hit. My solution? Ask every girl in seventh grade out: not exactly a great promotional opportunity for me.

I was the normal kind of awkward, but soon things went from plain old bad to truly horrible. I was 14 years old when a man who was a recognized spiritual leader attempted to molest me. I held it in for a week.

When I finally gathered my courage and spoke up, his leadership and even my parents just brushed it away. The crushing feeling of abandonment and shame took me down a a road of searching for peace through any means possible for the next 20 years.

When I did get the chance a year later to date a cheerleader, I messed that up purely out of fear of messing it up. I tried too hard and drove her away. A few months later, she and I were assigned to stand next to each other at a Christmas choir concert. I became overwhelmed with the desire to apologize to her for my behavior, but didn’t out of fear of rejection.

She was killed an hour later in a car wreck. So that added regret to hurts I carried on my shoulders. I joined the local fire department and found some hope, only to realize years later that it was my way of being a rescuer because no one was there to rescue me when I needed it.

I threw myself into my work and spent every waking hour responding to emergencies. I finally found my place in life and maybe a sense of peace, however fleeting it was.

Stephen KavalkovichThen came September 11, 2001: the day the world changed forever. Our nation was attacked and innocent people needed help. I was tasked to go to NYC and join the rescue effort. I walked into Ground Zero that night and will never be able to describe in words what it was like.

There was no way to really help and I carried that defeat for many years. I used it as an excuse to act out and numb myself. I began drinking heavily to stave off the nightmares and guilt that would progress to the point of death 14 years later.

My illness intensified. I began working as a paramedic and it wasn’t long before I was stealing pills from the medicine cabinets of those I was entrusted to help. I got married, had children, and bought a house full of stuff, but nothing made me feel secure.

I cheated on my wife many times, lost more jobs than I can count, and gambled our money away between long hours of helping others. I worked for two out of three counties in Delaware that both fired me for unprofessional behavior.

My first attempt at treatment was in 2008. My counselor, a convicted murderer who’d found recovery, had to teach me basic skills like laundry and not lying about everything I said. My wife stayed with me until another job loss. Then, she moved in with her mother. She finally gave up.

Who could blame her? My reputation and career were ruined when my second and third treatments didn’t stick. Even though I’d been through treatment, I showed up to work high. My certification got revoked, which led me to shopping for a doctor who’d prescribe me more painkillers.

My only fuel was an insatiable need to numb myself. My greatest fear was jail, but soon that came and went, too. I still kept going. When the money and pills ran out, the little bag of dope was introduced and in desperation I gave in.

There is nothing like the demoralization of being revived from overdose by an ex paramedic partner on not one, but two occasions. I found myself in my mid 30s with my score card at zero. I’d tried many therapists, rehabs, and medications for symptoms related to my destroyed state of mind and body, but they didn’t work.

I am grateful to say that utter brokenness brought me to the realization that no outside treatment or “help” would ever be enough to make me like myself. That was an inside job. I finally became beaten to a state of willingness and reasonability.

In order to get better, I had to go deep within and explore my deep-seated hurts, behaviors, and beliefs about myself. I had always tried to fill the same hole that all humans are born with: a God-shaped hole I was trying to fill with man-made things.

I sought peace in material creation instead of the Creator. My goal is not to preach, but to share what worked for me. My recovery came from relationship with myself, accepting myself for who I was, and uncovering what was inside me all along. It came from putting others first and learning to serve rather than be served.

Stephen KavalkovichNow, I am not perfect and would never want to be. But life is good. I sleep these days instead of blacking out. I feel deeply, love without expectation, and offer myself in any way to whoever has a need that I can fill. I am just one beggar telling another beggar where he got the bread.

I found that I had been asking the same question society asks about addiction. Why do they do make bad choices? The more relevant question that offers solution is, Where does the pain come from?

I began exploring that and freedom came on like a tidal wave. It is now my mission to share my story with you as a way of connecting us and giving you a voice. We are all floating in space on this big round ball and none of us are getting out alive. The best hope we have for world peace is peace in ourselves, followed by connection through our struggle and weakness.

If a guy like me, who was educated and saved people for a living and was supposed to “know better” could all but kill himself, no one is immune. Drugs are not the poison we choose to cover our feelings: it is the feelings that break us. If we are lucky, we live to tell others, and it is our mission to do so.

 

Original Source- https://www.facingaddiction.org/news/2017/05/25/paramedic-survives-911

Rescue The Rescuer

Do You Ever Feel Like Everything Is Going Up In Flames? Fire fighters, police officers, soldiers, EMS providers, and all first responders are under immense pressure and stress, day in and day out. This can lead to incredible challenges both at work and at home. My mission is to put a spotlight on these problems and help find solutions with the Rescue the Rescuers podcast and blog.

Get In Touch

Please contact _Melanie Vann, Program Director with Mental Health News Radio Network- Melanie@everythingEHR.com for further details and bookings. Stephen welcomes free consultations, so he can devise a plan to meet your unique needs.

Contact Stephen directly for a no obligation consultation by emailing  stephen@rescuedconsulting.com or calling 856.924.9360.