KAMLOOPS — On the front lines, first responders are put in difficult situations, in some cases putting their lives on the line.
"Whether you're fire, police, EMS, on a day-to-day basis you go to a lot of calls that can take a real toll on you as a person," says Kamloops Fire Chief Dale McLean.
No one is more characteristic of this than Cpl. JR Michaud, who was shot at a traffic stop in December 2014.
Michaud went through multiple surgeries and spent 18 months recovering. Part of that recovery was spent at Honour House in New Westminster, a place Michaud and his family stayed free of charge.
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"Honour House played a very key role when Cpl. Michaud was injured last year, and when he was taking treatment in Vancouver, members of the detachment attended and stayed at the Honour House," says Sunny Parmar of the Kamloops RCMP.
Paramedic Tracy Burton has seen first-hand how the Honour House lends a hand to families. Last August, her friend's son was paralyzed from a rodeo accident.
"She lives in Prince George and she was able to go down to Honour House and she was able to stay there and be close to her son and visit her son," says Burton. "I was able to go down for a couple days and see her and support her, and it was an amazing place to be."
Honour House has been open for about a half-dozen years now and has 10 bedrooms, with plans to build another one.
It's for any first responder, military member, or corrections officer needing a place to stay in recovery, whether it's for them or their family. It's saves them hundreds of dollars in hotel costs.
"It's these areas that actually benefit most because we are the people from the remote areas, the Interior, that are going to end up going down to Vancouver for these specialized treatments," says Honour House Society spokesperson Corey Viala.
There are plans this fall to build what they're calling Honour Ranch near Heffley Creek. Honour Ranch will focus on support for local members suffering from PTSD.
"To have an organization that assists with making your journey to wellness successful is a huge improvement to what we've had historically," says McLean. "Historically, people have just had to deal with these things on their own."
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