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Clarenville Memorial walk raises over $8K for mental health

Cpl. Trevor O'Keefe's family, Donna Hancock, and Beverly Hiscock during the cheque presentation.
Cpl. Trevor O'Keefe's family, Donna Hancock, and Beverly Hiscock during the cheque presentation.

CLARENVILLE, NL — It was a beautiful, autumn day, the perfect day for a fall walk.

Especially a walk with a purpose.

Donna Hancock hosted the event “Walk a Mile in His Shoes” to commemorate Cpl. Trevor O' Keefe, who died by suicide one month ago on Sept. 11, and to raise funds and awareness towards PTSD, suicide prevention, and mental health.

The presentation, surrounded by first responders in front of the Clarenville RCMP detachment.

A mixed crowd of about 100 people including RCMP officers, first responders, firefighters, correctional officers, and the general public joined O' Keefe's family as they walked form the Kent building in Clarenville to the Clarenville RCMP detachment, where a cheque for $8,326 was presented by Hancock to Beverly Hiscock of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Newfoundland division.

Funds were raised by friends and family of O'Keefe from across the province.

One such donor was Valerie Dwyer of St. John's, who, along with a friend, made a special trip from St. John's this morning just to participate in the walk.

Dwyer worked with O'Keefe while he was stationed in St. John's, and has fond memories of the man.

"I knew Trevor very well. I worked in the communications centre. Trevor was always coming in and checking on us, especially when we had a serious call. He was a great member," said Dwyer.

She says most people have very little idea how much emergency personnel go through on a daily basis, but says she hopes events like the walk give the pubic an idea of the battles these workers face.

"You see so much and hear so much, everyday at work. And its things people never see or experience in their lifetime. But I think [events such as the walk] will help people understand what it like to be a first responder," she said.

Dwyer also noted the great turnout.

"I think it's a great turnout — especially for the first year … It just goes to show how well respected and loved Trevor was by so many people."

Between Valerie and her friend, they raised $550.

You can still donate online by visiting Canada Helps (https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/canadian-mental-health-association-newfoundland-division/AMileInHisShoes2017/)

Fundraising is continuing until the end of October.

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