Phoenix 999

Nearly 30 mass shootings occur yearly in the United States, leaving numerous survivors to struggle with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These victims will generally not seek help in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event. This is why Phoenix 999 needs your support.

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Heather Martin, Executive Director (Volunteer)
Start Date: 2012

Heather was a senior at Columbine High School when the shootings occurred in April of 1999.
She graduated a month after and as years passed, she still felt lost and unsupported. With nowhere to turn for help, she suffered from major anxiety attacks that she couldn't explain. Refusing to believe they were a result of her experiences from years before, Heather did everything she could to not venture from her comfort zones including not going away to college and refusing out of state job offers. Unfortunately, the comforts of home still couldn't shield her from the never ending news of one mass shooting after another. And every one of them triggered feelings of helplessness. However, it wasn't until after the Aurora theater shooting in 2012 that Heather decided that she had had enough and had to do something to help. On July 23, 2012, with the partnership of Jennifer Hammer, The Rebels Project was formed. After the first meeting, it was clear that there was a strong need for resources to help those newly impacted by mass tragedy as well as for those still struggling with the residual trauma from years before. Ever since the first meeting, The Rebels Project has expanded its outreach efforts and its members, including Heather, have traveled to meet survivors from Newtown, Virginia Tech, the Washington Navy Yard shooting, and the Azana Spa shooting. In addition to Co-founding The Rebels Project, Heather is also the Director of Community Outreach for Phoenix 999, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting survivors in ways that only other survivors can understand.

Today, Heather is an English teacher at an Aurora Public Schools high school. She loves her students, listening to Bruce Springsteen (and forcing her students to listen to him), reading Young Adult literature and the Harry Potter series, and finds teaching to be incredibly rewarding. She lives in Colorado with her sweet rescue pup named Hazie and her wonderful fiance, Shaun. They will be married in July of 2016...Heather and Shaun, not Heather and Hazie.

Zachary Cartaya, Chief Financial Officer (Volunteer)
Start Date: 2012

Zach is a Columbine survivor and serves as the Director of Finance for The Rebels Project and is the Chief Financial Officer for Phoenix 999. Since Columbine, Zach has dedicated his life to helping people through public service. Zach's Bachelor's and Master's degrees are in Political Science and he worked for the State of Colorado for five years. In his time with the State, Zach worked to secure funding to aid homeless communities and underprivileged and disabled children. In any work Zach does, he hopes to make the world a better place.

Amy Over, Director of Fundraising (Volunteer)
Start Date: 2016

Amy was a senior the year of the shootings at Columbine. She was in the cafeteria when the shootings started and she ran to a nearby house. While in high school, she played basketball and ran track; Dave Sanders, the teacher who was murdered, was her coach. Because she did not know how to cope with her survivor's guilt, her emotions manifested in anger, which continued for many years until she found an outlet - anything physical. She started boxing, kickboxing, running, and working out to help manage her emotions. In addition to talk therapy and EMDR, she also has a wonderfully supportive husband and family. Amy got involved with The Rebels Project after finishing bachelor's degree and taking several mental health classes. She felt it was her calling to share her story and support others. Currently, she is the Director of Fundraising for The Rebels Project. Today, she lives in Parker, Colorado with her husband, Curtis, two wonderful children, and their boxer Callie.

Sherrie Lawson, Development Director (Volunteer)
Start Date: 2016

Sherrie Lawson survived the Washington Navy Yard shooting that occurred on September 16, 2013. While running from the shooter she scaled an 8 foot brick wall to escape along with dozens of coworkers. She lost twelve coworkers in the attack. She knew three of the victims and was working on projects with two of the victims. Shortly after this tragic event she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and severe anxiety. In her healing journey she became passionate about supporting others that are suffering from the "invisible wounds' of trauma. TRP has been a key factor in her road to recovery and she wants to share this gift with others that may be suffering from mass trauma.

She currently serves as Director of Development for The Rebels Project. She joined The Rebels Project in 2014 and began working with TRP in an official capacity in 2016. Sherrie holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership. At the time of the Washington Navy Yard shooting she was an elected official in Washington, DC and a doctoral candidate in a Leadership and Organizational Change program. Sherrie is excited to use her education and experience to help grow TRP. She has relocated to Colorado to become even more involved in the TRP mission of providing support for other survivors. She lives in Denver with her rescue kitty, Jax.


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