These are the very real and personal stories of first responders who have struggled with PTSD and the stigma that surrounds it. They have taken a brave step in sharing their experiences with others, in hopes of helping someone through the tunnel to the light.

Clarence’s Story

Clarence Wesloski is a current active Peace Officer with the County of Grande Prairie and mental health advocate. This amazing story of Clarence’s journey with an occupational stress injury and PTSD will be a three-part series. Pandora’s Box Clarence Wesloski’s story as told by him, written by Erin Flanagan Stashko. In modern times Pandora’s Box has come to symbolize significant and unexpected troubles that spill out, once opened. We often visualize Pandora’s Box as something tangible, and for Clarence Wesloski, a 28-year First Responder veteran (including Law Enforcement, EMS, Search and Rescue and now, a Peace Officer in the County of Grande Prairie for the past two years), Pandora’s Box is remarkably vivid. Clarence has discovered that a traumatic event can lead to something far s…


Well, my story is a lengthy one but for the purpose of this forum, I am going to concentrate on the journey through my career, PTSD, and growth in recovery. I have never written my story out before and only spoke about it publicly once so please bear with me as I try to navigate through this process.

The Eye of the Storm

Story by Corporal Michael Jaszczszyn Introduction by Erin Flanagan Stashko I’d like to introduce to you, Corporal Michael Jaszczszyn of the Grande Prairie, Alberta, RCMP detachment. Imagine – Being told at only 25 years of age that you will end up in palliative care from cancer, because ‘there’s nothing anyone can do for you.’ Now imagine losing the sight in one eye but feeling ecstatic anyway because you woke up and are alive. And through that significant loss of eyesight in one eye comes a tremendous gain: An appreciation for life that quickly emerges to a strong desire to ‘right’ the wrong in a world fraught with inconsistencies, where rules and regulations can be rigid (even when ineffective) and can also be seemingly unchangeable.


Gary Benoit is a current active member of the Edmonton Police Service. “I had to shoot somebody to save my life, but don’t tell anyone,” I told my wife, as I crawled into bed and fell fast asleep.


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