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Veterans coalition donates funds to first-responder wellness group

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By Ian Neligh

The Clear Creek Veterans Coalition donated $1,500 to Foundation 1023, a nonprofit first responder support group.

Foundation 1023 provides first responders with counseling and support, and creates ways to explain to communities the importance of mental wellness for first responders. It is operated in Texas and Colorado and was founded in honor of Kristin McLain, a flight nurse who died during a helicopter rescue mission in Texas in 2015. The number 1023 was both her badge number and is the first responder code indicating “arrived on scene.”

Clear Creek County Veterans Service Officer Troy Erickson said the organization was selected because of the work it does in the first responder community.

“So the veterans coalition is really trying to work hard at expanding our role in helping raise awareness about mental health issues for our veterans,” Erickson said. “And in sitting down and talking with some of our first responders in the county, we became aware of Foundation 1023 and the good work that they’re doing trying to help provide those services to first responders.”

Erickson said the nonprofit seemed like a good fit because often in Clear Creek County the first responders are also veterans, and those who aren’t have stepped up on a daily basis to help the community.

“We believe that first responders in smaller communities can be affected easier because most of the time they’re going to know their patient,” Erickson said.

Westbound & Down Brewing Co. in Idaho Springs donated $1 from a specific beer sold between Sept. 11 and Veterans Day in 2017.

“The veterans coalition felt since we were honoring our first responders on 9/11 that this seemed like the perfect foundation to donate the money to,” Erickson said.

Foundation 1023 co-founder Melody Mesmer said the donation was appreciated because her organization operates completely off of donations.

“We have seen an exponential rise in requests for services this year, so every donated dollar is very, very important right now and is directly going back to our first responders in our communities,” Mesmer said.

Mesmer added no one in the nonprofit receives a salary, so the money goes directly to those who need it most.

“If (the public) wants to contribute or participate, we accept volunteers to work any of our events to help out or they can donate on our website,” Mesmer said.

For more information go to http://foundation1023.org.