Today in Vancouver, Canadian military veteran, Master Cpl. Jordan Irvine – a White Rock resident – will be honoured by the governor general for his work helping fellow soldiers battle mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder.
With that as backdrop – as well as a series of Wounded Warrior runs which were held last month across B.C. – it seems as good a time as any to remind ourselves of the sacrifices made by all those that serve our country and our communities.
They’re sacrifices we often overlook – particularly those made by our local first responders, men and women prepared to leave the warmth and safety of their homes at all hours of the night; ready and willing to plunge head-first into a dangerous situation, putting themselves at risk to help someone else.
They must make difficult judgment calls and live with them; routinely witness things that would bring most of us to our knees. The rest of us can only imagine how they manage to deal with that stress and emotion while carrying on family lives, trying not to let it affect them or those around them.
Although we have laws in place to protect them when they are working at the side of the road, it’s the injuries we can’t see that are often most significant.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – and those who suffer from it – has been an important issue in Surrey and White Rock, as well. Since forming in 2011, the Equitas Society, advocating for disabled benefits for Canadian veterans, has worked to help us understand the impact of PTSD as well as more visible injuries, while the mental-health of first responders has been a top-of-mind issue for, among others, Surrey Coun. Mike Starchuk, a former firefighter.
Talking about feelings, especially in occupations still struggling to throw off macho stereotypes, has carried a stigma that keeps people from getting the help they need.
PTSD and operational stress injuries may no longer be associated only with veterans, but our first responders – just like our military veterans – are still not getting the help they need.
They’re willing to sacrifice themselves for us on a daily basis – it’s only fitting that we do everything we can to take care of them.