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Officer Rachel Thomas started her career as a social worker. Now, she is on our RREACT team, working on the frontlines with firefighters to connect overdose survivors with resources. Watch her story …

“I didn’t understand addiction when I was a social worker nearly as well as I do now.”



Since 2017, RREACT has been serving the community to provide harm reduction, patient advocacy, case management, family and children support, and substance use disorder education and awareness.

RREACT operates within the Columbus Division of Fire in partnerships with Columbus Division of Police (CPD), Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging (COAAA), Southeast Healthcare, Inc., PrimaryOne Health, and the Franklin County Family and Children First Council (FCFCFC).


Meet the Team: Meet the Team

Meet The Team


Captain Matthew Parrish
Project Director

I currently serve as the Fire Chief’s Chief of Staff while simultaneously overseeing the RREACT and SPARC programs. Since the inception of RREACT in 2017, we have strived to create meaningful connections and provide dynamic response to reducing opioid-related overdoses. 


Lieutenant Isaac Toliver
RREACT & SPARC Supervisor

As a RREACT & SPARC supervisor, I provide resources, guidance, and assistance the team needs in order to perform their duties to the best of their ability. Seeing the collaboration the team demonstrates and the relationship that are built by the teams outstanding work is rewarding for me.



Lieutenant Charles Waldenga
RREACT CPD Supervisor


Trauma and Family Specialist

My role on the team is to provide a trauma perspective and to assist families, impacted by a loved one with a substance use disorder. I train first responders and impacted families on how trauma impacts brain development and stress response.


RREACT & SPARC Outreach 

My role in RREACT is to engage individuals who have recently overdosed and their families. I explain their recent overdose  and what medics did to “bring them back”. I requested to be a part of the team, because far too many individuals in the black, lower income and poor communities of Columbus are dying from drug overdoses and struggling with mental illness.  The small reward, for now, is the ability to offer many options, in hopes that they can live a fulfilling life in recovery.  


RREACT Case Manager

As a RREACT Case Manager, I coordinate treatment and recovery services and resources for individuals with SUD. The recovery community is one of the most caring and supportive populations I have ever worked with and I am honored to be a support in this community. 


RREACT Outreach Specialist

My duties include checking relevant information sources to assist in preparing cases for outreach, conducting outreach attempts, and transporting individuals with SUD to treatment centers. The position with RREACT presented a unique opportunity to assist in combating the opiate crisis and reducing the impact for both the primary and secondary victims of the epidemic.


RREACT Outreach Specialist

I have been a CFD firefighter/paramedic for 26 years with 21 of these years assigned to a west side of Columbus fire station. I have voluntarily spent the last 2 years assigned to RREACT.

My passion for working with folks of SUD and the opioid epidemic comes from growing up and working on the west side of Columbus and witnessing the destruction of lives and how it negatively impacts families.

Personally I have had several family members pass away from drug addiction. My intense drive for wanting to help those that are not able to care and help themselves is one of my greatest attributes to this team.

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RREACT Outreach Specialist

My role at RREACT is to meet with individuals who have recently overdosed and to provide resources and to be that support system on their road to recovery. I joined the RREACT team in March of 2021 in hopes for changing someone’s life for the better and to show those individuals that there are people who care about their well-being. I believe when you respond to the needs of others that is rewarding in and of itself.


RREACT Outreach Specialist

​At RREACT, I assist with connecting individuals with SUD with appropriate resources, including treatment options, transport to treatment,  Firs Aid/CPR instruction, and Naloxone training. Witnessing the results of addiction from friends, family and co-workers, I relished the opportunity to assist individuals into recovery. Through my work at RREACT, I have had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people focused on creatively helping a community who themselves exemplify bravery, fortitude, and strength in their fight against addiction. 


RREACT Outreach Specialist

My role with RREACT is to engage individuals with SUD to offer assistance with entering into treatment and connecting with additional harm reduction and recovery support resources. My passion behind working for those battling substance use disorder stems from witnessing the devastation this epidemic has had on my community and the many loved ones in my life. During my time on this team I have had the pleasure of witnessing many individuals battle their way into recovery and celebrate a new life.


Southeast Healthcare Liason

My background, since 2012, is in mental health and chemical dependency counseling. I am also a person in long term recovery. I am passionate about sharing my experience, strength and hope with not only those individuals struggling with substance use disorder, but also the friends, family, and loved ones also affected by this insidious disease. The most satisfying part of my job is connecting others with the most appropriate tools and resources, effectively knocking down barriers that stand in the way of successful recovery.  Every single life is worth saving.


SPARC Supervisor

I joined RREACT and SPARC in the summer of 2021 to supervise social workers employed through the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging in the SPARC and RREACT Programs within the Columbus Division of Fire. With my experiences of working with survivors of trauma, older adults, people with mental health challenges, and other populations these programs serve, I continue to be impressed with the resilience and strength I have seen. It has been a pleasure to expand my knowledge of substance use disorders and be a support to this population as well.

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RREACT & SPARC Outreach Specialist


SPARC Outreach Specialist

I joined the RREACT/SPARC Team in January 2021. In partnership with COAAA, the Columbus Division of Fire, presented the opportunity to become a part of the EMS Outreach program, SPARC. The reward is continuing to serve the community and provide creative problem solving. The opportunity to partner with a First Responder enhances the continuity of care to maximize a successful outcome. 


RREACT Data Analyst

My role at RREACT involves data quality control and data analysis and reporting. I joined RREACT to help the community and attempt to reduce the opioid epidemic across the City of Columbus, by using my passion of data and analytical modeling. I have enjoyed working with the team and witnessing how much of an impact RREACT has on the community.

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SPARC Outreach Specialist

Through my work with SPARC, I coordinate services and resources for people who are in the midst of a very difficult point in their lives. This position allows me to use creative problem solving skills and to think outside the box to arrive at solutions to help people with their unique issues. I am truly blessed to be part of such an amazing team of dedicated, passionate, and caring professionals.


RREACT Program Manager

My role at RREACT involves managing and coordinating federal grants, improving operational efficiency and supervising data analytics. Through my work at RREACT, I have met many exceptional people who exhibit courage and strength, daily, in overcoming their addiction and serve as a reminder to me that recovery works. 

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RREACT Data Analyst

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