Launched - 14 February 2023
|FIRE||POLICE||PARAMEDIC & EMT|
A LONG TIME AGO in Stockport, Cheshire, England - Remembrance Sunday
Guard of Honour!
Being a British Army veteran I have lots of friends who left the military, both in the UK and US and in fact many other countries around the world, that I had the honour of serving beside. Many of which after leaving the military, signed up to continue to serve their countries, swapping the green for the blue, or whatever the new uniform colour.
Living in the US since 2009, it has always fascinated me how much respect, admiration and gratitude is given to the military both locally and nationally by people and business's alike. It is truly amazing and definitely not anything I have seen back home or any other countries I have served in or visited. However, I "personally" do feel that more recognition should be given to those serving every day in our communities, our towns, our cities and states.
There are so many professions that don't get the recognition or appreciation that they deserve and I have the utmost respect for many people and the roles that they have chosen in their lives.
|Although I am a British Army veteran and I support all veterans of all countries, my heart truly lies with the police. I have many friends back home in the police force and one of my bestest friends ever was a Police officer and a member of the Pasadena, (TX) Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, Larry Candelari. I met him whilst we were working in Iraq and his big gentle giant personality was infectious. I was invited to go and visit and stay with his family in Houston and I did that, at one time spending several months living there whilst in between contracts. Larry's family was nothing less than I had imagined and they took me in and gave me such a wonderful insight into the "American way of Life". Larry even took me out in his patrol car, and out to the SWAT range day. I went to their sons American Football games, had many conversations on how to spell and pronounce words (of course being English I was always right lol), was introduced to all the best TEXAN food places - Iguana Joes a favourite with the teenagers, was introduced to people as "Ozzy Osbornes sister and just so many other wonderful things.||
I was home on leave and feeling "flush" I said "My Treat" (around 10 of us) lets go to a POSH restaurant. Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse. NEVER again, will I say those words together "posh restaurant" and "my treat" lol. The picture is "before" I fainted after getting the bill haha.
|Sadly and devastatingly Larry was killed on 26 April 2013. His funeral was a day I will never forgot, not only for the heartache of saying goodbye to a man that took me into his heart, his home and his family, a man who was such a wonderful influence on me, he was funny, brutally honest (my biggest admiration), and a man that as big and tough as he was, he cared and was so proud of his family. But, the way the SWAT team looked out for me that day, was so very special and truly heartwarming. They treated me as one of their own and went out of their way to make sure I was ok. This was the first police funeral I had been to and it was nothing short of spectacular, full of love, respect, comradeship and such a sense of family and belonging. It had always been clear how much Larry was thought of by his friends and people who knew him throughout the force, but the magnitude of sadness and loss that day was immense.|
You might be wondering why I shared a snippet of my life with you, well it is to try and put things into context. There is so much hatred for law enforcement around the nation. Some of it, is of course justified, as in all professions there are a few "bad apples", but most law enforcement officers are truly amazing people, who sacrifice so much; time with their family, missing out on social events (family, friends, sports, bbq's and so on), working extended shifts and of course dealing with some of the most difficult and traumatic situations.
To exacerbate things, they do not know from one minute to the next what they could be dealing with and at all times their lives could very well be at risk. Unlike in a war zone, they do not know who the enemy is, they do not have intel reports before they attend each call, they do not have a military force of back up at the push of a radio button, a lot of the time they are on their own, dealing with whatever issues someone is having at that time. I just do not think that a lot of people appreciate, or can even relate to what these amazing people deal with mentally, physically and emotionally every minute of their shift, then going home to their families and attempting to switch it all off.
|People should understand the uniform that is worn is a tool to do their job. Inside that uniform is a man or woman who has committed to a line of work of helping others, knowing it could cost them their lives, being shot, burnt in a fire, or stuck with a needle, but they put on that uniform every shift and go out not knowing what they will be dealing with and try to make the world a better place. That should mean something!|
I am a strong-minded, independent woman. I have worked in male maximum secure prisons and war zones and I have never "needed" anyone to make me feel safe. However, when Larry died, it was the strangest feeling, even though we lived 3 hours away, I felt like my protection had gone. I had never felt or thought of anyone protecting me, but I believe, that not just because of Larry being my friend, but because of the man he was, the job he dedicated his life to, subconsciously gave me a feeling of security I didn't know I had. I always knew that if ever I needed help in any kind of way, I could call on Larry and if he couldn't help, he would make it happen that someone else could. Living in a different country and not having my network of friends around me, that meant a lot.
|How confident are we in our daily lives, knowing subconsciously that were we to get robbed, or mugged, a phone call would have the police shortly arriving to help. If our house catches fire, if there is a pileup on the motorway, we know the Fire Brigade will shortly arrive to help. We know should we have a heart attack, fall and injure ourselves , we know an ambulance with paramedic and EMT will be there to help. We don't think about the importance they have on our lives, until the time comes that we NEED them, or someone we love needs them. We don't think of how many LIVES they SAVE.|
So in honour of my amazing friend Larry and to all Police and first responders, to show our appreciation, Give a Dog a Home Rescue has added our
" First Responder Appreciation, Pet Food Program "
to our expanding community ventures and will launch on 14th February 2023, Give a Dog a Home Rescue's, 12 year anniversary.
The program is offering FREE dog food, cat food, cat litter and anything else we have that might be of use and help.
The program is set up to hopefully free up a little bit of cash so that the money can be used on something to help them relax, be that a pizza with the family, a movie night, a beer or treating their pets to some extra yummy treats.
Mental health is so very important and enjoying down time is crucial to mental health.
At the moment the program is only open to currently serving Fire, Police, Paramedics and EMT's. Depending on how things go, we will look into expanding it to show our support to others who truly give so much.
I do just want to mention that should ANYONE be struggling with feeding or caring for their pets, they can sign up for our
If you are currently serving any of the above, please follow the link to the First Responder Appreciation & Request page to complete necessary forms. We just need to know who you are, what department you work and what products you need. We will then reach out and arrange a mutual suitable time for you to come and pick up.
You will be asked to sign to say that any products you take are for your OWN pets or working animals use. It must not be given away, sold, or anything else, please do not take advantage of this program to help your friends or family.
If anyone would like to make a tax deductible donation to help cover our costs of this program, that would be greatly appreciated and of course helping at the rescue or with any of our community programs would be great too!