Thursday’s Spitfires game will support crisis line for First Responders

iPhone (BlackburnNews.com photo by Mike Vlasveld)

If you plan on going to the Windsor Spitfires game against the London Knights Thursday at the WFCU Centre, you will help support an organization that helps First Responders in crisis.

Since November 2018, Boots on the Ground has fielded over 400 calls from across Canada and the U.S. and from Windsor-Essex too.

Outreach Manager Blaine Phibbs said Dave McLennan, a retired Peel Regional Police officer, founded the organization. He was part of the services’ internal peer support team.

“What he was finding was that people were not approaching the peer support team internally, they were looking for something external,” said Phibbs. “That was the whole idea, was to have someone 24/7 available by phone, so that they could contact someone who was a peer and who also may not know the person, but understood exactly what they were going through.”

The person on the other end of the line is either a current first responder or was one.

The need is obvious. Every time an official from the organization travels to a community to spread the word, the phone begins to ring.

“It’s almost on the quiet. A lot of departments are saying they put the cards up in the bathrooms or locker areas,” Phibbs said. “Where someone can walk by and take a picture of it without actually having the card in their hand.”

The organization is also looking for volunteers.

The Spitfires organization contacted Boots on the Ground. Thursday’s event will be the first of what Phibbs hopes is a long-standing relationship with the hockey club and the Ontario Hockey League.

“They have a ticket package available on their website under tickets and special themed events, so a portion of the ticket sales will go back to Boots on the Ground,” he explained. “You get a ticket for the game. You get a challenge coin, which is something we hand out to people.”

Game time is 7:05 p.m.

If you are a First Responder in need of help, Boots on the Ground can be reached online at www.bootsontheground.ca or 1-833-677-2668.