Thursday, April 17, 2014

Helping others is a way of life

For many of Calgary’s first responders helping others is more than just a career choice; it’s a way of life on and off the job. Staff members at The City's Public Safety Communications (PSC), or 9-1-1 Centre, are no different.

“Year after year, I never cease to be amazed at the level of generosity and spirit shown by PSC employees,” says PSC Commander Steve Dongworth. “Before the police, fire department or ambulance arrives, these are the individuals who are there for citizens by connecting them with emergency services, and the amount of volunteering and charitable giving they do around that is truly inspiring.”

Last year alone, the team of roughly 300 PSC employees collectively supported more than 60 different charitable groups and initiatives. Three such initiatives were spearheaded by Sharon Koch, Heather McEachern and Craig Broadbent.

Finding ways to give back

Sharon Koch
Sharon Koch knows firsthand the stress of having a critically ill child and this help fuel her desire to give back by helping drive several of PSC's charitable endeavours.

“I will never be able to pay back the people who helped save my child’s life, but I will spend the rest of my life trying,” explains Sharon.

Sharon routinely organizes team events to support Ronald McDonald House as well as Canadian Blood Services.

“Sometimes a shift work environment makes it tough to commit to regular volunteering so I try and find ways we can make a difference as a group, either in person or through some sort of fundraising. There is never a shortage of people willing to support these efforts and I am grateful for that.”

Snacking for a cause

Heather McEachern
Heather McEachern coordinates the PSC Snack Shack, which sells food and snack items to PSC employees. One hundred per cent of the profits made from Snack Shack sales go to support charitable causes.

“All of our charities are picked by the volunteers and the staff who work here,” says Heather. “With a group of eight super-dedicated volunteers we are able to donate several thousand dollars every year.”

Chance encounter makes a difference

One day when Craig Broadbent ventured out to buy lunch, he met a man in his early 20s who was down on his luck and battling through winter with no winter coat or boots. Craig reached out to the young man by buying him coffee and food and spending time chatting.

Craig Broadbent
Craig soon decided he needed to do more, so he enlisted the help of his fellow employees and within a few days had collected not only appropriate winter gear, but also some books and personal hygiene supplies.

“He was eager to have basic necessities like a place to sleep and a warm shower. I felt that I could help facilitate, if not in goods needed, at least in encouragement,” said Broadbent. “Within two weeks of meeting my new friend, he informed me that he had a job working nights at a nearby warehouse.”

Honouring those who help others

To help honour the commitment, dedication and selflessness of PSC personnel on the work they do connecting Calgarians to emergency services, Mayor Naheed Nenshi proclaimed April 13- 19, 2014, as Public Safety Telecommunications Week in Calgary.

To learn more about Public Safety Communications and the work this group does for Calgarians visit http://calgary.ca/911.

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