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Wellness center to be built for first responders dealing with trauma

(WOWT)
Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 1:17 PM CDT
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An Omaha non-profit is building a new facility for first responders to help deal with the trauma they face while on the job.

The COVID-19 pandemic is now making the need greater in the community.

This will soon be a new home for firefighters, law enforcement, officers, and EMT’s.

The First Responder’s Foundation has created a holistic health program for those on the front lines.

The new facility features therapy rooms, a gym, and will also have a café.

Allen Batschelet the First Responders Foundation CEO said, "This is our wellness center for first responders and their families. It's sort of an all-inclusive mental health, behavioral health support to families, relationships, and physical wellness."

Marcus Ricks is an Omaha Firefighter. He knows the dangers first responders face all too well.

He says there's a massive need for a place like this in the Omaha community.

"I see it, you know, on the front lines. We go out on calls and I can see fellow brothers and sisters become stressed out. I can see them tired. We go back to the station and guys have their heads down, there's definitely a need,” said Ricks.

The first responder’s foundation focuses on four things when first responders and their families come here.

It's all about physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. But the COVID-19 pandemic is adding another need for care in the community.

Jason Workman, the Director of Behavioral Health: "The first responder, spouse, father, mother is working and working their job as best as they can, but they might not be able to come home to their loved one because they are fearful of bringing COVID home. Some of them are visiting the through windows."

That added stress means an influx in calls for the first responder's foundation.

Right now, they say they are hearing mostly from the family of first responders.

While this site is helping through the pandemic, foundations leaders say they will continue to help long after.

The First Responders Foundation is doing Zoom calls through the pandemic, but once restrictions loosen, they plan to open the gym to all first responders for the first time.

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