A paramedic from Moose Jaw has been travelling the province, paying tribute to first responders through his Project Warriors initiative.
Nicholas Hennick was in Estevan on Friday evening, where he met with local paramedics, firefighters and police officers, and took their photos to be shared on social media.
He described the photos as a way to honour and recognize emergency services personnel.
“These are the people that give their lives for the community,” said Hennick. “These are the people who struggle, and we need to be there for these people.”
His project is based on mental health awareness for first responders, and he believes it’s important to break the stigma out there associated with mental health.
“We’re just a big family, and we’re just closing the gap. That’s just my biggest goal is closing the gap between these services.”
He said he has gone through tough times in his life, like many in his profession, and hit a point he called “the darkness.”
“I didn’t want to tell anybody about it. I was pretty ashamed. I was scared to tell anybody that I was struggling. As I started dealing with things on my own, unfortunately that meant finding other coping mechanisms. I leaned towards alcohol.”
Drinking brought relief, but it led to an addiction.
He reached the point where he had to do something about it, or he was going to die, so Hennink sought help, with the assistance of friends and his employer.
Hennink is also a singer-songwriter. He started writing songs and recorded an album. It has since grown to something much more than he expected.
The Canadian Mental Health Association has jumped on-board.
“The album is dedicated to first responders and the struggles that we go through.”
A music video, Warriors, will be released Dec. 1. It was created as tribute to emergency services, and portrays emergency services working together to extricate a person from a crash scene.
Next week’s edition of the Mercury will have more on this story.