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N.S. mother creates charity to honour son's memory, help other firefighters
HALIFAX -- When Halifax firefighter Kyle Currie died last October at the age of 34, he left a void for all who knew him.
But his mother says the loss of her son has led to a new purpose -- helping other firefighters cope with the tragedies they face on the job.
“We’re coping with the loss of our son through suicide, and we’re doing our best with purpose and intent to move forward,” says Claudia Currie.
Kyle was a 10-year veteran with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency. His mother says he loved sports and he loved his job.
She says he also had a sensitive side, which meant the grim realities of his work as a first responder sometimes affected him deeply.
“There were things that he would tell us that he experienced, that I think we realized that maybe there’s improvement for resiliency for first responders,” says Claudia Currie.
That’s where her new sense of purpose comes in.
Together with a group of supporters, including her son’s friend and fellow firefighter, Mike Sears, Claudia has formed Fight 4 Life -- a charity with the goal of giving professional firefighters, past and present, extra support.
“You know, I went through my own personal struggle, which some of the other members picked me up and got me going again,” says Sears. “So it’s an obligation that I feel to give back to my brothers and sisters to help them out.”
Halifax Fire does have counselling services, and there is care through medical benefits, but Sears believes help needs to start before the symptoms do, with resiliency training.
“You know, you take a punch, and then you take a punch, and then you take another punch,” says Sears.
“Eventually you’re going to get knocked out, so with the resiliency side is, getting your guard up, and if you can block some of those punches from getting through, and then when the odd one does get through, you can bounce back quicker.”
Claudia Currie and those behind Fight 4 Life are now working to raise money for the charity, and they have chosen a very personal project to do so -- a fundraising calendar that is a tribute to Kyle’s love for animals and his passion for firefighting.
“The month of March is featuring Kyle’s dog, Juno, with Kyle’s very close friend, Jimmy Turple, and his daughter Leah,” she says. “We dedicated that month to them.”
With the help of two photographers and the organizing efforts of Fire Capt. Annette Thompson, the calendar is now a reality.
Claudia Currie says the wheels are officially in motion to help those who have done so much for her son’s loved ones.
“Our family experienced the worst outcome and I want them to understand that them being there for us was one of the greatest things that gave us strength,” she says.
“We’d like to make a difference and help in some small way.”