Springfield health board honors first responders with Thank You Week

A Springfield organization is doing its part to help honor first responders this week across the state of Ohio.

The Mental Health & Recovery Board of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties is sponsoring Thank First Responders Week in the region, which began Monday. The statewide celebration is meant to honor various agencies, including police and firefighters, for all the work they do to help those affected by the opioid crisis in their jurisdictions.

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MHRB CEO Greta Mayer said the group, along with the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, are focusing their celebrations around the theme of “Bringing Health, Bringing Hope.”

“There’s a lot of folks in crisis,” she said. “Our first responders are those first on the scene when folks are having crises in addiction and a lot of them are providing that life-saving help to help that person enter recovery and that next step.”

Mayer said first responders often expose themselves to unknown dangers when they go out on calls, but many say they don’t think about it when they go to help someone.

“They say ‘we’re not even thinking about that,’” she said. “‘We’re just trying to provide care.’”

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Other organizations have done smaller scale things like bake sales to honor responders, Mayer said, but this is the first statewide effort to honor them.

She said there will be several smaller events throughout the week to help give thanks to organizations like law enforcement and EMTs. Snacks and refreshements will be provided by the MHRB at sites like the Springfield Regional Medical Center so responders can receive some appreciation, Mayer said. Thank you banners will also be hung outside the board’s offices and other affiliates, she said.

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Pre-addressed, stamped postcards for 75 agencies will be available at local emergency departments for people to write thank you notes, Mayer said. Even people who weren’t directly helped by first responders are encouraged to take part in giving thanks.

“In today’s kind of fast-paced society, we don’t often take the time to write a note,” she said. “I’m hopeful it’ll have a lasting impact.”

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