Nancy Carbone, Founder & Executive Director

Nancy has a background in education and maternal health. As a long-time resident of the Carroll Gardens community, Nancy had several friends on the job at the time of 9/11. She immediately began to support the firefighter community. Quickly, they stated their need for a place to gather separate from the department. She recognized the unique long-term needs of the fire department members and, with their support and encouragement, founded an organization dedicated to meeting those needs. Since September 2001 she has served as head of Friends of Firefighters, Inc. In November 2014, she was named Honorary Battalion Chief by the New York City Fire Department.


Stephanie Cherry, LCSW, Associate Director / Counselor

Stephanie earned a master’s degree in psychology from NYU and a social work degree from Hunter College School of Social Work. She has worked in the field of research and trauma for 10 years. She is currently enrolled in the Institute of the Contemporary Psychotherapy post graduate Trauma Training Program. She joined the team at Friends of Firefighters in 2009 to coordinate and implement its programs and provide direct mental health services.


Sylvie Brown, Marketing and Communications

Sylvie is a lifelong resident of Carroll Gardens with over ten years’ experience in publishing, digital content, and freelance writing and editing. Before she started at Friends of Firefighters in 2018, Sylvie worked for many years at Scholastic Children’s Publishing in film and television programming and development, as well as enriched e-book production. She holds a BA in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


Marlo Lagrimas, Events 

Marlo is a graduate of Bloomsburg University. She has a degree in business administration-marketing. She has over 10 years of marketing and advertising experience. Marlo started off her career as a buyer of women’s apparel for a national retailer and has worked in direct response advertising, luxury goods, and most recently for an on-line start up company focusing on community relations. Marlo joined Friends of Firefighters in spring 2016


Katherine, Outreach Intern

Katherine joined the Marines right out of high school and served twelve and a half years until sustaining a traumatic brain injury while deployed. During her service she became a Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor who trained and deployed with Special Operation Capable Units, and also trained to become a Camp Pendleton Range Inspector. Throughout Katherine’s transition she continues to give back and is actively involved with military outreach. With her big heart and service dog Daisy by her side, Katherine has been involved with Friends of Firefighters since January 2013.



Kristina Hamilton black and white

Kristina Hamilton, LCSW, Counselor

Kristina joined the team in 2014. Kristina is a licensed clinical social worker and prolonged exposure therapy certified provider. Kristina earned her masters degree from Adelphi University. Kristina previously worked at the FDNY Bureau of Health Services WTC Medical Monitoring Program and the FDNY Counseling Service Unit. For the past five years she has worked at the Department of Veteran Affairs providing counseling to active duty service members and veterans who returned from combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Lauren Johnson, LMFT, Counselor

Lauren joined the team in 2014. Lauren earned her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Hofstra University. In addition to joining Friends of Firefighters, Lauren also has a private practice where she works with individuals, families, and couples dealing with sexual issues, depression, anxiety, effective communication, conflict resolution, and trauma. 


Rita Neidich, MS, BCB

Rita is a magna cum laude graduate of New York University and graduate school of Hunter College. Prior to joining Friends of Firefighters in 2011, she trained and worked in the field of biofeedback and research with Health and Performance International, a biofeedback clinic in Manhattan. Rita is a Board Certified in Biofeedback (BCB) practitioner through the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA). She joined Friends of Firefighters, along with Eve Bucca, to provide biofeedback wellness training to firefighters and their families through the use of the biofeedback mPod program.