TEMA History – (from their website at tema.ca
The men and women of our emergency, public safety, and military services see tragic events every day. They witness human suffering up close and it sometimes becomes very difficult to cope with the aftermath. Smells, sounds and reliving witnessed events can create painful memories that may haunt these men and women for the rest of their lives. It is their legacy for helping others in times of human suffering.
In 1988, former paramedic Vince Savoia attended to the homicide of Ms. Tema Conter. This event not only changed his life, but it also changed the lives of the Conter family.
Dealing with feelings of guilt, anger, and frustration, Savoia began his battle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Flashbacks, nightmares, isolation, and hyper-vigilance were some of the symptoms that he needed to deal with.
In 2000, Savoia requested permission from the Conter family to establish a Trust that would end the silence and ease the suffering of others like him who were dealing with PTSD. The Trust would also serve to honour the memory of the Conter family’s beloved Tema.
The Tema Conter Memorial Trust began in 2001 as a modest charity offering scholarships to paramedic students. Today, it has grown to become a hub for research, education and training, as well as a peer and psychological support resource for the men and women serving in Canada’s public safety organizations.
In 2011, the Trust welcomed Canadian actor, Enrico Colantoni
as its national spokesperson. With Enrico’s help, and the simple yet powerful slogan, “Heroes Are Human”, this charity has been able to spread awareness across the country and beyond. In the summer of 2014, volunteers of the Trust and various speakers and celebrities embarked on a cross-Canada PTSD-awareness tour that reached thousands of people in 47 towns and cities from Newfoundland to British Columbia.
Because heroes are human. Help us, help them.