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Montana First Responders Program launching in Great Falls

Posted: 5:28 PM, May 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-23 19:46:03-04

The Montana Vet Program  (MVP) is launching a new program to help first responders.

The Montana First Responders Program will support those on the front lines at home, such as firefighters, police officers, and emergency service personnel.

Tim Egnoski, MVP assistant program coordinator, said MVP received a donation from the International Association of Firefighters to start the new program.

“Last year in 2018 and in 2017, more firefighters committed suicide than were killed in the line of duty while they were working. You see the same trend with police officers as well. It is a group of people who there is not a lot of awareness out there about the struggles they have,” Egnoski said.

Egnoski said the program parallels what they are doing with the Montana Vet Program.

The new program will also promote healing through: camaraderie, physical activity, adventure, and tough-minded healing. Egnoski said the program will use the outdoors as a form of therapy.

“There is a lot of facets that we incorporate in a trip. For example, with a hike we put across information to people. We provide them with information through experience, some of that might be why we should eat healthy, why we should exercise regularly, and why we should have strong personal relationships in a tribe if you will,” Egnoski said.

He added the purpose is to ensure a person has the right tools once they leave the program to get through a rough time.

So far, Egnoski said there is a lot of support for the first responders program.

The Montana Vet Program and the Montana First Responders Program will host a fundraiser on Friday at The Sting starting at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome.