‘We’re just human beings’: Former Calgary first responder hopes to help others with PTSD

When Chad Kennedy arrived at a horrific bus crash almost two years ago, he says it sent him into the darkest place he’d ever been in his life.

Kennedy, who was working with the Alberta Highway Patrol at the time, was one of the first responders at the scene of a tour bus crash at the Columbia Icefield on July 19, 2020.

Several RCMP detachments from the area, including Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise, all responded to the scene, along with three STARS helicopters.

Three people died in the crash and the 24 other people on board were injured, some of them critically.

Following the incident, Kennedy was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Unable to work as a first responder anymore, he’s now made it his mission to share his story of survival with anyone else who is struggling with PTSD.

Kennedy’s also going to great lengths to make sure his message is heard – walking from Cranbrook, B.C. to St. John’s, Nfld.

He hopes that anyone who listens to his Sea to Sea for PTSD lecture will understand the pressure that first responders have to face each day while on the job.

“We’ve got all these folks out there that are keeping the public safe and, at the end of the day, underneath those uniforms, we’re just human beings,” Kennedy told CTV News in an interview in Lethbridge on Thursday.

“We’ve got to remember that – we can’t let our jobs identify ourselves. First and foremost we are human and it’s okay not to be okay.”

Kennedy began his journey on April 4 and expects to reach the Atlantic by mid-October.

For more details on Sea to Sea for PTSD as well as a way to donate to his mission, you can visit the official website.

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