Vernon RCMP Officer Finishes Walk

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A North Okanagan Mountie has completed a 60-hour walk for mental health, to raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding post-traumatic stress disorders among first responders.

Despite facing inclement weather,  3:23 pm on October 8th marked the end of a long and strenuous journey that is close and personal to Vernon North Okanagan RCMP officer Sgt. Rob Farrer as he completed a gruelling 239 km walk for mental health. 

Sgt. Farrer set out on Sunday October 6, 2019 at 7:00 am, from the Vernon RCMP detachment, on a quest to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health associated to post-traumatic stress disorders among first responders. As the walk continued through to the Okanagan Rail Trail and around Wood Lake, on a continuous loop, Sgt. Farrer battled through his 60 hour journey with support from co-workers, friends, family and the community. 

On day two, friend and colleague Sergeant. Major Sebastien Lavoie, from the BC RCMP, joined Sgt. Farrer to help him complete the remaining 100 km’s until his goal of 239 km was reached. The Sergeant and Sergeant Major battled through some undesirable weather as a storm rolled in Monday evening, however the two kept moving and knew what they were experiencing is nothing compared to the realities of those with mental health disorders on a daily basis. 

Sgt. Farrer stated after returning home, “I am absolutely amazed and thankful for all of the support from both inside and outside of the RCMP organization. Although I am tired and sore, I am extremely grateful for the awareness raised, as a result of the walk, surrounding Operational Stress Injuries among first responders. It’s a conversation we must keep having to support one another.” 

"Congratulations and thank you to Sgt. Farrer for undertaking this incredible initiative," says Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachen, Commanding Officer of the BC RCMP. "It is extremely important that we continue the conversation surrounding Operational Stress Injuries so that we are able get the necessary assistance to people in need. Sgt. Farrer's efforts will help to bring much needed attention to the topic and reduce the stigma."

Sgt Farrer adds that the media and social media coverage has been overwhelming, especially as he is also looking to raise funds for Courageous Companions, a service dog program created by OSI- CAN. The program helps members suffering from long-term OSI’s, PTSD and other related issues, acquire service dogs to provide support and aid in their recovery. The cost of acquiring and training OSI service dogs is approximately $25,000.

To continue to support Sgt. Farrer on his quest to raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health you can visit his gofundme page which is OSI Service Dog.  At last check he'd raised $13,000 of his $20,000 goal.