Annual “Guns and Hoses” hockey game a win for all

This year’s event raised awareness for fight against youth homelessness

By Stewart Grant

For the past several years, the “Guns and Hoses” hockey game has brought police, paramedics and fire emergency services together for the common goal of raising awareness towards important community issues.

This year, the Perth County OPP, St. Marys Fire Department and Perth County Paramedic Services stepped on the ice at the Pyramid Recreation Centre to support the “Push for Change” campaign with Victims Services of Bruce Grey Perth to raise awareness on the issue of youth homelessness.

The “Push for Change” campaign was started this past May by Joe Roberts, a former street youth turned successful entrepreneur who brought attention to youth homelessness by pushing a shopping cart 9,000 km across Canada.

Following the ceremonial dropping of the puck, the following community representatives posed for a photo just off the ice surface, from left to right: Rob Scott, Sebringville OPP Detachment Commander Inspector; Paramedic Jacob Reed of Perth County Paramedic Services; Town of St. Marys Councilor Don Van Galen; Town of St. Marys Fire Chief Richard Anderson; Town of St. Marys Councilor Jim Craigmile; Anne Elliott, Managing Director for Victim Services Bruce, Grey, Perth; and Bev Hagedorn, Executive Director for Stratford/Perth Shelterlink.
Following the ceremonial dropping of the puck, the following community representatives posed for a photo just off the ice surface, from left to right: Rob Scott, Sebringville OPP Detachment Commander Inspector; Paramedic Jacob Reed of Perth County Paramedic Services; Town of St. Marys Councilor Don Van Galen; Town of St. Marys Fire Chief Richard Anderson; Town of St. Marys Councilor Jim Craigmile; Anne Elliott, Managing Director for Victim Services Bruce, Grey, Perth; and Bev Hagedorn, Executive Director for Stratford/Perth Shelterlink.

OPP Constable and Community Safety Officer Michael Melnychuk explained that homelessness is not just an issue for those people living on the streets, but also those who have found themselves “couch surfing” and living without a home of their own. There are many risk factors and vulnerabilities that contribute to youth homelessness, such as mental health, addictions, and more.

The goal of events like the Guns and Hoses event are to “foster positive connections between OPP, youth, families and community stakeholders to enhance safety and well-being for all,” said Melnychuk.

Jeff Sager, Commander of Perth County Paramedic Services, added that “thanks to the organizational efforts of all the emergency services, we are proud to give back to the community. With our continued participation over the years we are hoping that someday the event may be called ‘Guns, Hoses and Stethoscopes’ lending our support behind our allied agencies.”

While the OPP came out on top in the hockey game, the event was a win for all sides and for the community as a whole. Through donations, a BBQ and silent auction, money was raised for the Push for Change campaign, Victim Services of Grey-Bruce-Perth, and Stratford/Perth Shelterlink.

This weekend, the awareness campaign for youth homelessness continues with the “Coldest Night of the Year” walk in Stratford put on by Stratford/Perth Shelterlink. For more information, visit www.canada.cnoy.org/location/stratford.

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