Today, my wife and I participated in a 21 km road race to promote mental health awareness for first responders. The race took place in Brandon, MB and was made up of participants from Police (Brandon PS, RCMP, MFNP, Military, Rivers PS), EMS, Brandon Fire & Emergency, Corrections, Military, and Telecoms. Brandon PS Chief Wayne Balcaen brought greetings to the participants along with several of the organizers. There were over 60 participants who cycled, ran, or walked facing winds gusting to 64 km/hr. We finished within the top 10 but the blessing came from just spending time with my peers to encourage and support them as a police chaplain and a friend. Ten years ago, we seldom had conversations about mental health or our struggles due to the constant trauma we face. However, looking around at the participants today, I know many are now open and honest about life's challenges, and acknowledge the benefits to having those tough conversations with trustworthy persons. Special thanks to BPS Constable Amanda Conway and her team for organizing today's road race. Next year Amanda, we'd like less wind resistance; however, there was a bit of irony in today's race because we had to overcome and be resilient against the gusting wind.
Project Resilience 911 offers support to all first responders, frontline workers, and their families in the Brandon and Westman areas. It's a multi-agency approach to education, shared resources, initiatives, funding and training opportunities between all frontline workers and agencies in the Westman area. If as a police chaplain, you are exploring different ways of providing member care, check out the PR911 website for ideas of how you may launch something similar in your area of influence. If you are part of a similar project in your area of Canada, please contact me or share a story on our Forum and Blog Pages.
Constable/Chaplain Bruce Ewanyshyn