CHDS Master’s, ELP Alum Publishing New Book on Personal, Professional Trauma

After three decades as a first responder and emergency manager, Center for Homeland Defense and Security alum Lori Hodges has learned a few things about trauma. Add to that a difficult upbringing and Hodges has experienced trauma from many different angles.

In her new book Shaking in the Forest: Finding Light in the Darkness, which she describes as “part memoir, part a book about overcoming trauma,” Hodges (Master’s Program cohort 1305/06, Executive Leaders Program cohort 1201) revisits her time as a paramedic and a firefighter, using information from her personal journals to reflect on the emergency calls she dealt with and the lessons learned during her 20s and 30s. 

“Over time, the book expanded into a memoir about trauma and the ways in which each of us copes,” the Director of Emergency Management for Larimer County in Fort Collins, CO, said. “Each chapter begins with a story from my emergency services days. From there, the chapters discuss personal challenges and trauma I have faced in my lifetime, the things I have learned along the way, and the ability to see the beauty in catastrophe. I do not think that we talk enough about trauma and mental health in our field so this was a way to open up the conversation in a personal way.”

Shaking in the Forest will be published on July 16 by Koehler Books.

Hodges credits her CHDS education with introducing her to chaos theory and complexity, which she said “completely changed how I looked at my work and, later, how I looked at the world,” and ultimately influenced her writing.

“In the book, I talk about how chaos is the great teacher,” she said. “It shakes us up and causes us to look at our lives differently and make the change that is needed to truly thrive. I also discuss the collateral beauty of chaos—how to see the good in the bad of everyday experiences. Without attending the CHDS programs, I don’t know that I ever would have learned about the beauty in chaos which is a core theme within this book.”

After starting her career as a firefighter and a paramedic at age 25, Hodges later worked at both the local and state levels in emergency management. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Management and planning, a Master’s Degree in Security Studies, a Master’s Degree in Political Science and Public Policy, and is completing a PhD in Business Strategy and Innovation.

She has published multiple articles in industry journals and magazines on emergency management, leadership, chaos theory, and lessons learned from disaster. She is also the author of the historical fiction novel Sweet Twisted Pine, an award finalist in Western fiction.

INQUIRIES: Heather Hollingsworth Issvoran, Communications and Recruitment |, 831-402-4672 (PST)

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