Join Doug and Karen Monda as we discuss their story and the foundation they created, Survive First.Doug is the Founder of Survive First, Inc. and has a long standing history in law enforcement. He retired from law enforcement as an undercover narcotics agent with the Cocoa Police Department, a city in Brevard County, Florida in 2017. He began his career in public safety in 2001. In his second year of service, Doug joined the S.W.A.T. team, and subsequently attended Marine Scout Sniper Training, earning his certification with Blackwater. He spent 15 years on the Cocoa Police Department S.W.A.T. team. During his service on S.W.A.T., his experience as a sniper and team leader played a critical role in the safety of teammates and success of countless missions. During his career he has also worked with agencies consisting of D.E.A., F.B.I., ATF, Border Patrol, U.S. Marshalls Office, Department of Homeland Security and NASA.
Doug’s training has earned him extraordinary success in the field. Recently, he was named 2016 Officer of the Year. Additionally, throughout his career, he earned many other awards for his hard work and dedication to the City of Cocoa.
In 2013, Doug’s own mental health became impacted from his long career in law enforcement. His own experience with treatment for PTSD, depression, and attempted suicide was the catalyst that drove the founding of Survive First Foundation. Doug is now a national keynote speaker. He speaks on the impacts of a first responders job on mental health and family. His mission is to spread awareness of PTSD, depression, and suicide in first responders, hoping to break the stigma, so that help may be received before it is too late.
In his spare time, Doug enjoys spending time with his family, surfing and competing in the sport of triathlon. he has competed in the national and world championships and is a four-time Ironman triathlon finisher. Doug was a former professional soccer player and coached several teams for the YMCA, as well as youth and high school soccer teams. He currently serves as a board member for the YMCA of Cocoa and chairs their Youth Scholarship Fund.
As a member of the Board of Directors for Survive First, Doug helps set the strategic goals and objectives for the foundation.Karen is the wife of Survive First Foundation’s founder, Douglas Monda, and a proud step mother of five. She received both her Master of Arts degree and Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Communicative Disorders, from the University of Central Florida. Karen has a long history of fundraising for national and global non-profit organizations, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Florida Wildlife Hospital, the Humane Society of the United Stated, and the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation. She has a long-standing passion for helping others in need and currently co-chairs the YMCA of Cocoa Youth Scholarship Fund.
Karen’s personal experience as a law enforcement spouse, who has fought alongside her husband to win the battle over depression, PTSD, and attempted suicide, has been the drive behind her passion for Survive First Foundation and ensuring that all first responders and their families receive the support and treatment they need when mental health becomes a daily struggle.
In her spare time, Karen enjoys spending time on the beach with her family. She maintains a healthy lifestyle by running. Karen enjoys running the marathon distance, and has been honored to qualify for and run the Boston Marathon. She believes in physical fitness as a catalyst for a healthy and happy life and encourages people to find a physical activity they can enjoy.
Karen oversees all communications and media content for Survive First Foundation. She also coordinates and plans fundraising events and drives for the foundation. As a member of the Board of Directors, Karen helps set the strategic goals and objectives for the foundation.