Ponoka Fire Department members Tracy Hillaby

Ponoka Fire Department members Tracy Hillaby

First responders join forces in fundraiser run in Ponoka

Ponoka first responders along with some enthusiastic running buffs came together for a run to raise awareness of PTSD.

Ponoka first responders along with some enthusiastic running buffs came together for a run to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The event was held May 13 at the Ponoka Secondary Campus track and looks like it raised more than $1,500 for the Heroes are Human fund, which provides supports to first responders with PTSD.

Organized by Ponoka Fire Department (PFD) firefighter Tracy Hillaby, the event brought some teams from the town department, the Ponoka County East District Fire Department, the Wetaskiwin Fire Department and long distance runners, a team of which came from Rip’N Ronnies. All in all there were 32 runners, said Hillaby.

Despite a windy, chilly morning, runners started to get warmed up pretty quick; for Hillaby even more so considering she ran in her protective firefighter gear. “I was warm and toasty.”

“Heat wise it wasn’t too bad but weight wise it’s a lot,” she explained.

She ran 12 laps, a total of 5 kms, with moral support from those who took part in the run. On her last lap everyone joined in to help finish the run.

“It was a big show of support,” she said.

Guardian Ambulance staff attended and there was an RCMP presence as well to the event. “I was really happy with the support we got from everybody.”

The event inspired her to plan ahead for next year to get more involvement from other first responders. Considering this run came about in a couple of weeks, she was pleased to see such strong support.

“We got a lot of community support from people we didn’t expect,” said Hillaby.

She added with further planning she feels they’ll be able to see more teams and runners and possibly more money towards the Heroes are Human fund. For Hillaby it’s about supporting all first responders.