A Rally for Corey

By James Buckley   |   July 5, 2018
Firefighter Wally Goode (a good friend of fallen firefighter Corey Iverson), Ashley Iverson, and Nine Tierzan at the Kick Ash Bash

I met Ashley Iverson, the widow of Corey Iverson – who died fighting the Thomas Fire last December – at the Kick Ash Bash in Summerland, where I learned that she was not only being sponsored by Nina Tierzan but was also staying with Nina in her beach house in Montecito. I have described Ms Tierzan as “ridiculously generous” in the past, and the following story exemplifies the bigger-than-life heart hiding under Nina’s sweater.

“She reached out to me,” explains Ashley during a get-together at the Santa Barbara Club recently, during which she revealed the creation of the Iverson Foundation for Active Awareness. “I was sick at the time and had lost my voice and couldn’t even answer the phone. [Nina] left a message inviting me to stay at her home during the Kick Ash Bash, which I had not heard about at the time, so I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. I was a little leery. We finally got in touch after Gregory Hahns let me know she wasn’t a crazy lady, that she was actually legit. So, I accepted her invitation and had a very lovely time.” 

Ashley Iverson with her and fallen husband, Corey Iverson’s, two children: Evie Rose and Taylor Ivy Francis

Ashley’s late husband, Corey, is being honored this year with a rally in conjunction with the Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard; half the proceeds of the rally will be dedicated to the Iverson Foundation for Active Awareness.

Ashley was in Santa Barbara to explain what her new foundation is and what its mission will be.

“Basically,” she says, “the goal is to change the culture within first responders as a whole.” She explains that first responders sometimes “have to go and see all these tasks that you and I don’t even want to think about, and there’s little to no decompression afterwards.” Firemen, and policemen, for example, are part of a culture in which they’re required to just keep going, despite whatever troubles they may have at home and/or in the workplace. “My goal,” says Ashley, “is to make it okay for them to talk about what they’ve got going on in their head, in their soul, and bring the darkness to light through peer-led communication at work.”

During our conversation, I bring up the possibility that many first-responders would stay away from sharing doubts and/or fears with a medical provider or psychologist because it could indicate mental instability on their service record, possibly hurting their chances of promotion. Ashley believes that one way to avoid that problem would be by making it mandatory for everyone. 

“Hopefully, over time,” she says, “when the culture has shifted, this will be just a norm and through consistent maintenance there won’t be as many suicides or divorces.”

Statistically, she notes, firemen suffer from both at a far greater degree than the general population.

As part of the launch of the Iverson Foundation for Active Awareness, the Memorial Car Rally is planned for October 20 to honor her late husband, who lost his life on December 14, 2017, while battling the Thomas Fire in Fillmore, California. Proceeds of this rally will benefit two charities: the Iverson Foundation for Active Awareness and The Murphy Auto Museum. 

The rally will take its participants on a drive through Ventura County’s backcountry, and participants will end their day at a party at The Murphy Auto Museum, where Ashley Iverson will be present and where she will undoubtedly say a few words.


You might also be interested in...