Me­mo­rial walk raises more than $8K for men­tal health

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - PROVINCIAL - BY MARK SQUIBB

It was a beau­ti­ful, au­tumn day, the per­fect day for a fall walk. Es­pe­cially a walk with a pur­pose.

Donna Han­cock hosted the event “Walk a Mile in His Shoes” Wed­nes­day to com­mem­o­rate Cpl. Trevor O’keefe, who died by sui­cide one month ago on Sept. 11, and to raise funds and aware­ness to­wards PTSD, sui­cide preven­tion, and men­tal health.

A mixed crowd of about 100 peo­ple in­clud­ing RCMP of­fi­cers, first re­spon­ders, fire­fight­ers, cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers, and the gen­eral pub­lic joined O’keefe’s fam­ily as they walked form the Kent build­ing in Clarenville to the Clarenville RCMP de­tach­ment, where a cheque for $8,326 was pre­sented by Han­cock to Bev­erly His­cock of the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion, New­found­land di­vi­sion.

Funds were raised by friends and fam­ily of O’keefe from across the prov­ince.

One such donor was Va­lerie Dwyer of St. John’s, who, along with a friend, made a spe­cial trip from St. John’s this morn­ing just to par­tic­i­pate in the walk.

Dwyer worked with O’keefe while he was sta­tioned in St. John’s, and has fond mem­o­ries of the man.

“I knew Trevor very well. I worked in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­tre. Trevor was al­ways com­ing in and check­ing on us, es­pe­cially when we had a se­ri­ous call. He was a great (RCMP) mem­ber,” said Dwyer.

She says most peo­ple have very lit­tle idea how much emer­gency per­son­nel go through on a daily ba­sis, but says she hopes events like the walk give the pu­bic an idea of the bat­tles these work­ers face.

“You see so much and hear so much, ev­ery day at work. And it’s things peo­ple never see or ex­pe­ri­ence in their life­time. But I think (events such as the walk) will help peo­ple un­der­stand what it like to be a first re­spon­der,” she said.

Dwyer also noted the great turnout.

“I think it’s a great turnout — es­pe­cially for the first year … It just goes to show how well re­spected and loved Trevor was by so many peo­ple,” she said.

Be­tween Va­lerie and her friend, they raised $550.

You can still do­nate on­line by vis­it­ing Canada Helps ( https://www.canada­­i­ties/cana­dian-men­tal-health-as­so­ci­a­tion-new­found­land-di­vi­sion/Amilein­hisshoes2017/)

Fundrais­ing is con­tin­u­ing un­til the end of Oc­to­ber.


The late Cpl. Trevor O’keefe’s fam­ily, Donna Han­cock, and Bev­erly His­cock dur­ing the cheque pre­sen­ta­tion Wed­nes­day for “Walk a Mile in His Shoes.”

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