A founding member of OSI-CAN, a group that provides mental health supports for first responders and veterans, has passed away.
Chris Siddons from Regina took his own life on February 28, 2019. Jack Rennie, an advanced care paramedic in La Ronge, met Siddons at a PTSD conference last fall. He said Siddons inspired him to start his own healing journey.
“Since hearing about him and hearing how open he has been about his journey, it has really broken a lot of the stigma and I think made people feel more comfortable about coming forward and talking about it as a result of the work he has done and the exposure he has brought to operational stress injuries,” Rennie said.
Siddons who served over a decade with the British Army and did tours in Northern Ireland and the Gulf War, moved to Canada in 2005, with the hope of getting a fresh start. Unfortunately his feelings of anxiety, depression and hyper-vigilance would continue to haunt him.
OSI-CAN was a group created out of a need Siddons saw to provide support services to veterans and community first responders who suffer post-traumatic stress. Rennie said he didn’t want his friend remembered as a symbol for PTSD, but rather for the work he did.
“Because he has physically left us, it doesn’t necessarily mean that his spirit isn’t with us and I think that’s a very important message because I don’t want this to ever be perceived as a viable option for people struggling,” he said.
Prior to his death, Siddons was involved with was the planning of a first of its kind rest and recovery centre southeast of Prince Albert. The facility spread over 300 acres, would provide a retreat for people struggling with operational stress injuries and would include cabins, equine therapy and counseling services. Rennie said the only current option offered is a stay at a mental health unit.
“And many of them are patched together to meet the needs of the general public, who are not really exposed to the same traumatic events that we experience on a daily basis,” he said.
Michelle McKeaveney also worked closely with Siddons and was appointed by Siddons as the OSI-CAN representative for the Prince Albert region. She remains very passionate about the project being built.
“The crisis was there yesterday, the crisis is there today, and it was there last week also so I’m just done talking about it. I just want to do this now because we need it, and i can’t go through any more [funerals],” she said.
McKeaveney said she feels blessed to be a part of something that has changed lives, and said Siddons will forever be her mentor. She added that the people are first on scene after an accident or working at the correctional need all our support.
“[Chris] created an entire service and he had all the support in the world, yet stigma still maks people feel isolated and alone,” she said.
Planning for the rest and recovery centre is entering the final stages. McKeaveney said they expect an approval permit to come to the RM of Prince Albert council in April.
With shattered hearts and profound sadness we announce the passing of our beloved son, brother, uncle and nephew, Robert Joseph Neil Curtis who offered his final “Aloha” on August 22nd, 2018 at the age of 37 years. Born in Red Deer, Alberta, his family soon moved to Regina where he attended high school at Riffel Collegiate and then graduated from the SIAST in 2000 as an EMT and two years later as an Advanced Care Paramedic.
He was predeceased by his fantastic grandparents, Joe and Meta McGeady and Vi Curtis, along with his childhood camping buddy and cousin, Ryan Wadsworth. Robbie is survived by his loving parents, Patti and Ken Curtis, his sister Candace with whom he had an outstanding relationship since early childhood and his brother in law, Devin Curle. He also leaves behind his special friend, Nikki Crowe and his cherished nieces and nephews, Hannah, Logan, Rachel and Alex whom he adored as much as they adored him. Uncle Robbie was their real life hero! He is also mourned by many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and emergency crew members in the first responder community.
From the age of 4 when he first donned a Superman cape on top of his blue “S” insignia pyjamas and little red rubber boots, he dreamed of single-handedly saving the world. Robbie always found it easy to make friends and he made many at home, at work and around the world. Kids in the hotel pools would flock to play with him. He would be encircled with boys and girls in Tae Kwon Do where he earned his black belt by the age of 12 along with many provincial and national martial arts championships. He loved to travel especially to far off places where beaches and scuba gear were awaiting his arrival. If swimming with sharks at the bottom of the ocean wasn’t enough of an adrenalin rush, he decided to take a stab at one of Superman’s skills – so he learned to fly. His dad will attest to Rob’s superb skills as pilot in command. Recently, he took it one step further. Instead of flying the airplanes, he decided to jump out of them. The thrills of skydiving captured him and he was never afraid to “take the leap” for a free fall from 10,000 feet. No one is surprised to hear that the Chief of Police recently presented Rob with a Commendation for Bravery for helping police in a dangerous situation when he was off duty. He felt compelled to help a comrade in need. He had integrity and guts! Dune buggies in the Arizona Desert or racing on the NASCAR track were all in Robbie’s fun zone. He played hard and he worked hard. He was so proud of his career as a paramedic and working with a team of dedicated professionals trying to save the world – one patient at a time.
For the past few years, this dynamic, enthusiastic and talented young man struggled with PTSD and its associated battles. He was a brave and courageous soldier that fought hard to beat its challenges which were great. Rob’s parents and sister would like to extend their deepest gratitude to the EMS paramedics and Fire and Police personnel, who worked aggressively to save his life at home as well as the entire nursing and medical teams in the RGH Emergency who worked desperately to bring him back to us. If hope could have brought him back, there was plenty of that until it faded to become the darkest day of our lives. All of the ER and EMS staff’s emotional investment was obvious but they remained professional and determined until it was time to say goodbye. We all shared immense pain in that room and in the hours and days that followed. The world lost an outstanding human being and paramedic but his incredible spirit is now free to soar.
Robbie supported many charities in his lifetime but he especially liked the Humane Society of Regina where he adopted his beloved rescue puppy and friend, Anela, Our family’s world has been rocked and forever changed. It is no longer as bright without his winning smile; no longer as fun without his unique and contagious laugh; no longer as safe without his fierce, protective loyalty and no longer as warm without his compassionate heart.
A Celebration of Rob’s Life will be held at the Conexus Art Centre, 200 Lakeshore Dr, Regina, SK on Thursday, August 30, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. Casual dress appreciated and all first responders and nurses are asked to wear their uniforms. Please arrive by 6:00 p.m. to gather outside for the arrival of the motorcade procession.
All donations from the celebration of Rob’s life will be made to Regina Paramedics With Heart / care of Saskatchewan Health Authority, Box 3930, Regina, SK, S4P 3R8, a non-profit association to help paramedics in distress.
On Saturday, June 3, 2017, Elias Anastasios Giannoulis passed away after a long but courageous battle with depression at the age of 22. Elias was predeceased by his grandmother, Doreen Mattison, his grandfathers, Frank Biro and Stavros Giannoulis, and his Golden Retriever friend, Jake. Elias will be lovingly remembered by his mother, Darla Giannoulis and her fiancé, Greg Ulmer; his father, Peter Giannoulis; his brothers, Zachary and Alexandros (Brooke) Giannoulis; his girlfriend, Dellyn Winterhalt; his four-legged friend, Asher; his grandmothers, Margaret Biro and Kalliopi Giannoulis; his uncles, Tracey Biro and Lambros Yannoulis; his aunties, Darlene Biro Pedersen and Della Yannoulis; and his cousins, Kelly, Steven, Michael, Jamie, Stavros, Poppy, Nathan and Caleb, as well as several cousins and family members. The Hull family was a second family to Elias, and he will be lovingly remembered by Carey, Cara, Jacey and Bretten Hull, and Russell "Papa" Holth. Elias' teammates, friends and coworkers will miss him dearly. Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. from St. Anargyroi Greek Orthodox Church in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. A Celebration of Elias' Life will be held on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the Gallagher Centre Flexihall in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. The Interment Service will follow in the Yorkton City Cemetery. A donation in Elias' memory can be made to Wounded Warriors Canada which provides mental health programs and services to first responders and their families for those wishing to do so. The family would like to thank the Risling, Flett and WPD Ambulance families for their much needed support. Friends so wishing may forward their condolences to the family by visiting www.christiesfuneralhome.com. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Christie's Funeral Home & Crematorium, Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
SPYKER, Jacobus (Jack) James - Passed away suddenly in North Battleford, Saskatchewan on Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Jack was born March 6, 1988 in Welland to Jack and Dorothy (Rogers) Spyker. He attended Ross Elementary School then graduated from Centennial High School in Welland. As a youth he was a member of the Welland Air Cadets where he learned leadership and survival skills. When it came to adventure, for Jack the sky was the limit. He enjoyed roughing it in the woods, hiking, rappelling and even sky diving. Jack had an artistic side which he expressed through his amazing photography. True to his caring nature, Jack went on to become a dedicated, well educated Paramedic who also helped new trainees 'learn the ropes'. His career took him to Saskatchewan where he worked for WPD Ambulance, made new friends, and met the love of his life Jillian Jones. Besides his parents, Jack leaves behind his loving sister Britny Spyker. He is survived by grandparents, James Rogers and Grace Spyker along with many other family members, friends and co-workers. He is predeceased by his grandparents Barbara Rogers and Jack Spyker Sr. Cremation has taken place and at this time it is the desire of Jack's family that you join them in a celebration of his life, to be held at Riverstone Event Centre at 414 River Road, Welland on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 6:00 pm. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to a trust fund set up at www.gofundme.com/q8cncg by a close friend of Jack's to help the Spyker family. "Your soul cried tears and you didn't know why…In seeking the answers, you flew to the sky."
Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Byron Chayeski who passed away on Friday, July 8th 2011. Byron was an employee with Canora Ambulance Care Ltd.
The funeral service for Byron will commence at 14:00 hours on Friday, July 15th, 2011. There will be no interment as Byron was from Alberta and his ashes will be taken there at a later date. After the service there will be refreshments and a time to visit and remember a special person that touched each one of our lives.
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Rick Wyatt aged 58 of Cut Knife Saskatchewan. He lost his life due to a motor vehicle accident at Neilburg, Saskatchewan on May 28, 2011. He leaves to mourn his passing his wife Ann, three daughters, and their families, his father and two sisters.
Rick was an EMR and a valuable member of our Ambulance crew in Cut Knife since February 1998. He could always be counted on to take on-call shifts and the week-ends when no one else wanted them. He was also an active member of the community, always donating his time to some worth while cause, he was a member of the Elks and a member on the fire and rescue team in Cut Knife.
RUETZ, Tracy Lynn (nee McEachern) On October 20, 2009 Tracy Ruetz was suddenly taken away from us at the young age of 37 years. She will be sadly missed by her husband Jeff; children Megan, Olivia and Anthony; parents Doug and Julie McEachern; grandmothers Mary Haugen and Lucille McEachern; brother Shaun (Donna Thomas) McEachern; sister Jodi (Colin) Chamberlain; niece Kendall; nephew Asher; as well as numerous other relatives and friends. She was predeceased by her grandfathers Leonard Haugen and Gerry McEachern; and uncle Michael McEachern.
Westman, Karen Elaine (nee Hemmingway) passed away suddenly on Sunday July 19, 2009 at the age of 56. Karen is survived by her husband of 37 years, Rod Westman of Vermilion, AB; three children, Trent (Leslie) of Vermilion, Trevor of Vermilion, and Dana (Sheldon Gale) of Lloydminster; two precious granddaughters, Madisyn and Karsyn. She is also survived by three brothers and one sister, Bob (Bette) Hemmingway, Ron (Mary) Hemmingway, Glenn (Lorraine) Hemmingway and Lynn (Clint) Landalls; her mother-in-law, Ollie Westman; in-laws, Ross (Karen) Westman, Craig (Pat) Westman, Nick (Ruth) Westman, Brian (Caroline) Westman, Della (Mark) Stumborg, Gayle (Garth) MacDonald, Lyle (Nadine) Westman; and numerous relatives in her extended family.
The unexpected passing of Local medical icon Irene MacCuish occurred Sunday November 9 2008 at Humboldt District Hospital. Graduating as a Registered Nurse in 1953, Irene moved to LeRoy Sk. in 1963 as Matron of the local hospital. Upon its conversion to the Lerose Lodge she maintained her position there. Irene was well known as a "nurse on call" for the local residents and founder of the LeRoy Ambulance Service in 1976 using a station wagon for transport.