CFFF Courage Vol.14 NA

Vol.14

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T he Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation (CFFF), has proudly continued its partnership with Camp F.A.C.E.S. (Families and Children of the Emergency Services). Camp F.A.C.E.S. provides the families of the fallen the opportunity to gather at camp each year, so that they can be in the company of others who have experienced similar loss. Along with trained personnel and mental health oversight, the families have the opportunity to bond and be immersed with others who truly understand. Camp F.A.C.E.S. is made possible entirely by dedicated volunteers and funding through donations and fundraising. This year, 2018 marked the 5th year of Camp F.A.C.E.S. Each year, the number of family members attending camp increases by approximately 15%. While this is a testament to the success and support offered by the camp, it is a stark and sorrowful reminder of the ever-increasing number of families left behind from line of duty death. The CFFF appreciates that the families' grief and need for support extends long after the funeral and memorial services end. Losing a loved one in the line of duty carries forward through their life, its milestones, meaning, and experiences. In representation of the CFFF, I had the honour of serving as the mental health lead for Camp F.A.C.E.S. this year. I was joined by seven dedicated mental health professionals with expertise in trauma, grief and bereavement, oncology, palliative and intensive care, suicide, family counselling, and crisis support specific to the emergency services. All of these professional's graciously donated their time to help. This year over 32 families attended camp with over 50 children between the ages of 2 to 18 years old. In last year's article of Courage, I reflected on the warm welcome with which returning families embrace the new families. This year, I was struck by something in particular … the exhale. Literally the deep exhale that families let out as they stepped foot into camp, the exhale of being immersed in support among people who are living the same. A place where the families can be themselves and let their differences fade away. How like a family, the families of the fallen take care of each other. Most of all, I am humbled by the values, meaning, and integrity in life that they live by. Thank you for the honour of supporting the families of the fallen. 64 CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR THE SPOUSES AND CHILDREN OF THE FALLEN By Dr. Lori Gray, C. Psych., Director and Secretary, Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation Camp F.A.C.E.S. (Families and Children of the Emergency Services)! Above and to the right: Two of the departments that support Camp F.A.C.E.S. through volunteering members and equipment

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