“You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late”
--Scarlet Tunic p. 66
Why is this quote important? Without kindness, peer support wouldn’t exist. Several years ago while in Ottawa to intern my father and his wife at the Military Section of Woodland Cemetery, we had a family meal together. When we left my brother was approached by a man down on his luck and asked for money for a meal. My brother agreed he would pay for the meal, but would purchase the meal if the individual accompanied him back into the restaurant. The individual readily agreed. A gesture of kindness without questions.
On Monday night some of us attended the presentation by Joel and Kristie McNair on their Journey of Recovery from his diagnosis of PTSD. As difficult as it was, they were able to track the difficult journey as a positive message for others.
Without going into detail about their presentation, she mentioned that the support from family and coworkers was a vital part of their journey. When he was away for treatment for an extended period of time, coworkers provided support in having a fundraiser, and made sure the emotional support and concern was always there. A quote was displayed on the screen during the presentation and fits perfectly into this topic. “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about - BE KIND” (author unknown)
Kindness, respect, commitment, compassion and support was evident throughout their presentation.
We don’t have to put a name to it but this is peer support in its finest hour. Their road certainly wasn’t easy and it paints a very similar path that all of us have had to endure in overcoming our challenges.
“Life is black and white, it's’ up to you to paint the colors”
Peer Support Group Leader Leigh
The target demographic of OSI-CAN are but are not limited to: former and serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Allied Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Frontline Protectors --- which include Municipal Police Services, CN Police Services, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Protection Services, Wildland Firefighters, Hospital Trauma personnel, Nurses, healthcare Workers, Social Workers, Animal Control Officers, Coroners, Indigenous Emergency Management, Victim Services Personnel, Emergency Communications Specialist, Corrections Officers, “Volunteer” First Responders, Conservation Officers, Aboriginal Emergency Services personnel, Tow Truck drivers who clean up accident scenes and their spouses/partners. This demographic was chosen due to the commonality of experiences they share through the service they provide to the country and community. We have a special interest and support volunteer first responders as they are not eligible for programs such as Workers' Compensation.