First responders getting support

From left, Boots on the Ground president Dave McLennan, OPSEU provincial health and safety co-chair Mike Lundy, emergency management field officer Sharon Bak, OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas and Badge of Life volunteer Derek Wilson give information on the peer-to-peer support programs for emergency responders and front-line workers on Thursday at OPSEU’s Thunder Bay office during a fundraising barbecue.

First responders and front-line workers deal with trauma on a regular basis and the need for peer-to-peer support amongst those workers is crucial.

“It can happen at any time when all of a sudden you’re struggling and need someone to talk to,” said Michael Lundy, health and safety provincial co-chairperson for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

To address that need, the union is working with not-for-profit organizations Boots on the Ground and Badge for Life in bringing their peer-to-peer support services to Northwestern Ontario.

Boots on the Ground offers 24/7 peer-to-peer support for any first responders or front-line workers or any individual who has experienced trauma in the workplace.

Telephone services are available, but Lundy said they want to bring the face-to-face option to the region, which is why he and fellow OPSEU member Sharon Bak brought Boots on the Ground to the Northwestern Ontario region for a fundraising and awareness tour.

The tour started on Monday in Fort Frances and stopped in Kenora and Dryden before wrapping in Thunder Bay on Thursday.

See the full story in the print and digital editions of The Chronicle-Journal.