In 1997, after Founder and President, Wendy Norris suffered a career ending injury while fighting a structure fire, she started an organization to support injured first responders online. That organization was officially organized under the IRS as Firefighter Ministries.
In 2000, after a blaze took the life of firefighter Scott Harshbarger, firefighter Wendy Norri was approached by (Ret) Lumberton Chief, Dennis Gifford to assist in the planning and guidance of Scott's funeral. From that event, Wendy Norris and Dennis Gifford saw first hand how difficult a fatality is on a family and a department. They discussed the need of having a 'strike team' made up of firefighters of all rank that would respond within 12 hours to a department that suffered a fatality. Wendy started working on the details of such a team. She then presented her information to the Texas State Firemen's and Fire Marshal's Association whom readily agreed that such a team should be formed. In early 2001 the Texas Line of Duty Death Response Team was officially formed under the guidance of Firefighter Ministries, the SFFMA, and the State Fire Marshal's Office. In 2006, The Task Force presented their information to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, where they helped provide guidance on developing similar programs in other states. The Texas Line of Duty Death Response Team was one of the first official response teams in the United States.
Since its inception, the Line of Duty Death Task Force has provided assistance to over two hundred families and departments, consulted with hundreds of department around Texas and across the country, educated over a thousand firefighters, police, and EMS workers in department preparation, and has officially partnered with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation LAST Program, the Texas State Firemen's and Fire Marshal's Association, the Federation of Fire Chaplains, TSAFF, and the Texas Fire Chiefs Association. We also work closely with the Texas Police Chief's Association. And while the LODD Task Force no longer operates under the guise of the SFMO, they still work closely with the State Fire Marshal as well as with many of their investigators.
The Texas LODD Task Force provides assistance, consulting and education to all law enforcement, fire, and EMS departments whether union, private, government, forestry, industrial or volunteer. We provide assistance and guidance to families and agencies that have experienced a LODD, a suicide, an illness or cancer, and catastrophically injured first responders. Our team is made up of emergency workers of all ranks who volunteer their time to this important cause. The Task Force is funded through the donations and grants given by private citizens, organizations, and corporations and works under the 501 (c) 3 status of Firefighter Ministries.