(With content from Jen Doratti)
When retired Humboldt firefighter Darcy Leonew and his wife Shirley received an invitation to a Saskatoon event hosted by the Rolling Barrage, they gratefully accepted, thinking only that they would be contributing to a fundraiser. Little did Leonew know that he was a guest of honour.
The retired fire captain with 40 years service is renowned for his contributions both in his community, but in wider circles. Leonew has worked for years with first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He continues to engage in this work. The Rolling Barrage is a non-profit organization of first responders whose members travel across Canada each year on motorcycles to raise funds and awareness for PTSD. The group makes various stops along their cross-country journey, offering support and acknowledging first responders (both active and retired) for their service and work.
This year, during their stop in Saskatoon, Darcy and his wife Shirley were invited to an evening of supper and presentations to support the cause. The invite was willingly accepted, and both Darcy and Shirley were unaware that Darcy would be honoured.
During the last presentation of the evening, retired RCMP officer, Mark Doratti called up unsuspecting Darcy Leonew to the front while highlighting Darcy’s commitment and involvement with the Humboldt Fire Department over the last 40 years, along with thanking his wife, Shirley, for her strength and support during her husband’s years of service. Following this, Darcy was gifted a commissioned quilt made by Swift Current resident, Marcie Erick, who designs and makes quilts for first responders who are receiving recognition at these events.
"I never knew that was coming. You get awards and trophies all your life, but when you get something like the quilt I was presented, and knowing the time and effort that went into that, you can't describe what the feeling is like."
Although retired from the department, Darcy continues to be an active member of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), offering support and debriefing opportunities to first responders across the province. He's becoming more supportive of the Rolling Barrage and their work.
"I like supporting the Rolling Barrage. It's an unbelievable organization for what those veterans of army, police, EMS and fire do. I'm just dabbling in it, but the more I get into it the better I find it. "
To find out more about the Rolling Barrage, information is posted on their Facebook page, “The Rolling Barrage” or visit www.therollingbarrage.com