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VIDEO: Barbecue shows appreciation for Langley’s first responders

Police, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, and more were at the inaugural event

Isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t only affect patients, but nurses, paramedics, firefighters, and police officers as well.

That was a motivating factor for Ron Bate to rally support to host the first – of what will hopefully be an annual – appreciation barbecue for first responders at Langley Memorial Hospital on Friday, May 3.

“We weren’t actually allowed to be in proximity with one another and that kind of created a divide between us, and this is just a way to bring everyone [together] because we work so closely with police, fire, and EHS on a day-to-day basis,” explained Bate, clinical operations manager in the emergency room at LMH.

With his help and that of the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation, and twin brothers Jamie and Chris Ruscheinski – board members at LMHF and founders of Twins Cancer Fundraising – the free barbecue event came together with hotdogs, hamburgers, drinks, treats, and more.

Bate shared that some of the highest morale he’d seen from nurses during the pandemic was when the community rallied together at 7 p.m. every day to show support for the work they do.

“They felt loved and appreciated, and they haven’t felt that since,” Bate said, adding that nurses are still doing the same job today and that in some ways it’s been harder.

Bate, formerly an emergency critical care nurse for 20 years, said he hopes showing regular appreciation helps humanize first responders.

“We are mothers, fathers, siblings, and partners too, and its important to remember that,” he said.

For Bal Sidhu, a staff sergeant with the Langley RCMP, the event provided him and his colleagues the opportunity to have closure about the aftermath of some patients they had brought to the hospital.

“There is no follow up at the end, and this is a great way to have some follow up. Sometimes we are just left wondering, and hope that person got the support they needed,” Sidhu shared.

Sidhu said many stories and experiences were being shared among the first responders at the barbecue.

“It feels amazing [being here], this is great that every first responder agency is here from Langley… we don’t get to see many people very often, and this is a great way to connect and appreciate each other,” Sidhu commented.

He describes the first responder community as “tightly knit” and shared his thanks to his colleagues for their support.

Chris Ruscheinski said he was happy with how the event turned out, and hoped all the first responders felt some well deserved appreciation.

“Things have been tough for them… it’s hard to even put into words what they went through with COVID, but we wanted to show them they are appreciated,” he said.

“They are the first on the scene, and the people who take care of you, and it’s nice to be able to give back a little bit,” Ruscheinski said.

Families of first responders were welcome to the event, and kids had the opportunity to sit in the fire truck, ambulance, or police car. Facepainting was also available on site.

To wrap up the event, Langley RCMP Supt. Adrian Marsden and Rushcheinski participated in the dunk tank.

A presentation for an upcoming social media campaign was also given, which will start at the end of May to share some stories of hospital staff and first responders.

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Kyler Emerson

About the Author: Kyler Emerson

I'm honoured to focus my career in the growing community of Aldergrove and work with our many local organizations.
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