To Hell and Back

In this podcast episode, host Cyndi Doyle interviews John Blumenthal, a Retired Master Sergeant (Ret.) with the Oklahoma City Police Department.


In 2022, I conducted some workshops for the Oklahoma City Police Department, including training their wellness team on my Train the Trainer program. I spent a whole week there and got to know their amazing team. One person stood out. He was honest about his struggles in the past and passionate about impacting other officers. As I went through the year, I was connecting with other people in the field and his name kept getting mentioned repeatedly. Blu or John Blumenthal is what I would describe as a cop’s cop. He grew up as a cop kid, and then he became one. Blu will tell you the mistakes he made and the impact they had on his family. He’s taken what he’s learned and made it a mission to impact other law enforcement officers and their families. At the time of the interview, Blu was a master sergeant with the Oklahoma City Police Department.  He has since retired, is now the Chief Operating Officer for Warrior’s Rest Foundation, and volunteers with the National Cops Program. John Blumenthal shares his journey, how he overcame obstacles, and his messages as he impacts our law enforcement community.

(03:03): Blu shares his military and police background.

(04:22): Early career traumas led to a passion for wellness and advocacy for mental health.

(06:29): On August 31, 2000, Blu’s partner and an Oklahoma State Trooper were killed in front of him during a pursuit. This critical incident led Blu down the path of destruction.

(07:20): The impact Blu’s traumas had on his family.

“My spouse told me, “I’m walking on eggshells. The kids are walking on eggshells. We don’t know what version we’re going to get of you.”– John Blumenthal

(08:52): The new norm was drinking, sleeping pills, being miserable, being overweight, and making bad decisions, which ultimately led to divorce.

12:29): Blu discusses how he and his wife lost who they were due to the impact of both their careers.

“We just lost ourselves. We completely forgot what we were really doing here other than working.” John Blumenthal

(13:52): The wake-up call was multiple marriages, disciplinary actions on the job, and eventually getting arrested by his own police department.

(14:36) Blu was diagnosed with PTSD.

(15:59): After saving 18 kids and two teachers during a stage five tornado in 2013, a chaplain recognized that something was off with Blu and suggested he talk to someone.

(16:46): The recognition that past traumas were unaddressed due to the stigma of getting help.

(17:41): In 2016, Blu started EMDR and credits this therapist as saving his life.


“He goes, “You’re fucked up” and I was like, excuse me? And he said, “Yeah, you heard me.” He saved my life. There’s no doubt about it.” John Blumenthal

(18:23): Understanding that therapists don’t need to experience firsthand what first responders do in order to help them.

“You don’t have to understand what I went through, but if you’re compassionate enough and have the heart to sit here and listen, then try to give me some coping skills to work through this, then I care about you.” John Blumenthal

(19:08): Trauma’s, trauma. There’s no expiration on it.

(20:02): Don’t let your ego destroy you and hold you back from seeking out help.

“Being a police officer is not really that difficult. It’s turning it off to be a human being. That’s the really hard part.“ John Blumenthal

(21:07): Thinking your struggle is unique prevents you from connecting to anybody else.

(22:28): Blu talks about seeing his medals of honor as proud moments while also understanding that each medal represents a traumatic event.

(25:32): Blu talks about his decision to identify outside of his career and find his family again.

(29:20): “There’s so many things we can’t control. The few things we can control is ourselves, our integrity, our loyalty, and our character.” John Blumenthal

(32:22): Reinvent yourself and figure out your priorities.

(35:59): Blu discusses his involvement with the Oklahoma City Police Department, Warrior’s Rest Foundation, and the National COPS Program.

(38:31): Too many resources are available “to be a victim of your own circumstance anymore. You’re out of excuses.” John Blumenthal

[email protected].

Warriors Rest Foundation


To Hell and Back

In this podcast episode, host Cyndi Doyle interviews John Blumenthal, a Retired Master Sergeant (Ret.) with the Oklahoma City Police Department.




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