Thousands attend Edmonton’s third annual First Responder’s Day
Edmonton’s third annual First Responder’s Day took place on June 2, 2018, at Kingsway Garden Mall, honouring first responders and raising funds to support Legacy Place Society.
Legacy Place Society collaborates with a number of organizations to provide confidential resources for both individual first responders and their families. These include workshops, conferences and crisis accommodations. One of the main objectives of the society is to provide the necessary support and services required to help first responders recover from mental, emotional, physical and or vicarious trauma, as well as personal and family challenges resulting from occupational challenges.
The June 2 event saw thousands attend, according to one of the organizers, Dennis Prior. The event featured live-action demonstrations including a correctional service drug dog demonstration, multiple rappels down Chancery Hall, a jaws-of-life car rescue and helicopter flyovers.
Justice and Solicitor General (JSG) branches in attendance included: Adult Centre Operations, Community Corrections and Release Program, Young Offender, Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, Sheriffs and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement.
Member of Legislative Assembly Nicole Goehring also took the opportunity to attend, visiting branches and addressing first responders. She thanked them for their service and Legacy Place Society for their support of mental health initiatives for first responders.
Prior, a probation officer with Correctional Services, attended both the inaugural Edmonton First Responder Day and this year’s event. For Prior, this year’s event was extra special. Not only does he volunteer his time facilitating a peer support program for Correctional Services but he is also on the board with Legacy Place, a role he’s held for more than 10 years.
“Mental health affects us all. It’s a difficult job being a first responder and no one should suffer in silence,” he said.
For Prior, it’s encouraging to see the event’s continued growth.
Attendees from nearly every branch told Prior they either knew someone personally or knew of someone within the ministry that had previously struggled with mental health or utilized the programs and services offered by Legacy Place Society.
“Everyone agreed that events like this are an important part of raising awareness and helping others know they are not alone,” he continued. “For all the ministry attendees, events like this provide them with an opportunity to connect with the community and clarify their respective roles within the public eye. These types of public events also help showcase the amazing partnerships across all ministries and first responders, highlighting the support and community among them.”
Prior said he’s also witnessed the community among first responders and that there’s a growing initiative for peer support programs.
“I began volunteering with Legacy Place Society 12 years ago when a friend told me about their peer support programs. It’s so encouraging to have watched the peer support program and this event grow in recent years. We’re really excited about growing mental health awareness and looking forward to the future of Legacy Place Society,” Prior said.
Prior would also like thank the JSG branches for their work and involvement with this year’s event.
“It was an honour to work with the various first responder groups, especially the Justice and Solicitor General branches such as Community Corrections and Release Programs, Young Offender, Adult Centre Operations, Sheriffs, Fish and Wildlife and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement,” he said.
Stay tuned to find out the final tally of funds raised.