On November 3, 2019, Major Darren Ivey of the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) was recognized by Blue KC and KCFX/Chiefs Radio Network for his volunteer work with the veterans organization The Battle Within by being named the Here For Good Hero for the Chiefs home game against the Minnesota Vikings.
“Major Darren Ivey is making a tremendous impact on our community through both the Kansas City Police Department and The Battle Within,” said Christina Lively, Blue KC’s Department Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “Not only is he working daily to serve and protect the people of Kansas City, he’s also using his wisdom and experience to help men and women who have endured trauma in their service to others by volunteering with The Battle Within. We’re very proud to recognize him as a Blue KC Here for Good Hero.”
A 27-year veteran of the KCPD, Ivey has spent his time serving KC-area citizens during difficult situations. At each point in his career, he has worked alongside other first responders in assisting those who are vulnerable and who feel lost. According to Ivey, while it is the pleasure of the first responders to provide care and compassion for each citizen, it’s critical that the ones doing the serving are healthy inside and out in order to provide this kind of care.
“We have learned the hard way that if we don’t practice self-care and gain the tools to help cope with what we see on a daily basis, then it is also our lives that start to crumble and our families that start to fall apart,” said Ivey, also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. “I’ve learned that all too often we teach our first responders and veterans to ‘suck it up’ and ‘don’t ask for help because they will think you are weak.’ These are attitudes that lead to high suicide and divorce rates for them. I have taken this knowledge and found ways to teach them that it’s okay to ask for help, okay to feel things, okay to cry and okay to talk about things.”
Understanding the challenges veterans and first responders face in dealing with what they experience on the job, Ivey has elected to volunteer with The Battle Within since its inception.
Founded by more than 100 veterans, first responders, community leaders and supporters, The Battle Within believes that every warrior deserves the same opportunity to heal from the traumas they have endured in their service to others. The program offers a free, five-day program for veterans and first responders in which they are provided lodging, meals and life-saving journey that uses holistic techniques steeped in ancient warrior culture and is backed by modern evidence based methods. Once warriors have completed their five-day on-site journey, they are given access to additional resources of support to help them continue on their path to healing.
“When they first start the program, and even way before that, you can see the hurt and fear in their faces,” said Ivey, who has, himself, completed the program. “By the time they are done on Friday, it is a totally different look. They look happy and like a 1,000-pound rock has been lifted off of their chest. The tools that they are provided during their journey are truly life-saving and life-changing. All they have to do is use them.”
As part of his role with the KCPD, Ivey teaches across the country regarding first responder and veteran self-care and resiliency. At each stop, he promotes The Battle Within as a free resource for those in need.
“I truly feel that I was placed on this earth to serve people—to show them love and that someone cares for them,” said Ivey. “I can think of no better way than to give back to the community. I serve on several boards and volunteer for several organizations and each of them have one thing in common: serving and giving back to others. I feel truly blessed that I live in this wonderful city and that I have a wonderful life, and I want to share that with others.”
The Blue KC Here for Good Hero program recognizes strong community partners and the men and women who work or volunteer with those organizations to make Kansas City a better place to live, work and play. Prior to each Chiefs home game, Blue KC selects one honoree to attend the game, while also enjoying the KCFX/Chiefs Radio Network Tailgate Party and a visit to the radio broadcast booth. Blue KC also donates $1,000 to the organization of each honoree.