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First responder coffee donation program launched

A local coffee company has found another way to give back to first responders. True Heroes Coffee Co. was started up in 2017 by part-time County of Grande Prairie firefighter Calorado Hudkins and his wife Suzanne, who works as an ICU nurse at the QEII Hospital.

They’ve committed 10 per cent of their profits to the Tema Conter Memorial Trust, which supports and raises awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in first responders. Having been with the Country Regional Fire Service for nearly five years, it’s a cause Hudkins believes in strongly.

“It is an actual thing that people deal with on a regular basis; it’s like an injury to the mind and I feel that it’s very important. It’s starting to get a lot more recognized across Canada and by a lot of different foundations and charities.”

The company has also started a new donation program, where customers can purchase an extra bag or box of coffee to go to emergency services around Grande Prairie or elsewhere in Canada. Recently, someone donated a box of 12 bags to hopefully last the local EMS station an entire year.

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“I’m more than willing to ship anywhere across Canada,” says Hudkins. “Whereever we can get our coffee to, the better.”

Not every emergency service gets coffee as part of their work contract, and Hudkins says it’s common for what’s available to not be to everyone’s liking. He adds that not only does drinking a cup help first responders stay alert, it can also be an important mental health break during their day.

“It’s something that we bond over; it’s something that we discuss calls over; it’s very good for our debriefs,” he explains. “It’s one of those times that we all sit down as a crew, have a cup of coffee; it’s a little bit comforting and we discuss what happened.”

True Heroes Coffee is currently run out of the Hudkins’ home, but orders can be placed online or through their Facebook page. The beans are also sold at the Health Hut, Grande Prairie Coffee Co., and The Whispering Tree. Anyone wanting to donate a bag can coordinate delivery through the company.

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