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The Voice of the Wildkats

The Student News Site of Willis High School

The Voice of the Wildkats

The Student News Site of Willis High School

The Voice of the Wildkats

Sophomore delivers positivity message to first responders

Organization to highlight mental health issues inspired by family member’s death
SPECIAL+DELIVERY.+During+the+winter+break%2C+sophomore+Annabell+Smith-Grimm+delivers+treats+and+sandwiches+to+a+Montgomery+County+Fire+station.+She+visited+all+the+stations+to+share+a+message+of+positivity+to+the+first+responders.+courtesy+of+Annabell+Smith-Grimm
SPECIAL DELIVERY. During the winter break, sophomore Annabell Smith-Grimm delivers treats and sandwiches to a Montgomery County Fire station. She visited all the stations to share a message of positivity to the first responders. courtesy of Annabell Smith-Grimm

From wildfires to car accidents, first responders are only a call away from helping people across the nation. But being available to dart to emergency scenes requires long hours, and the taxing nature of these careers can often have impacts on workers’ mental health. Stress, PTSD and substance abuse disorders are purported to affect first responders at higher rates according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. There are international agencies that specialize in helping officers who may be struggling with their mental health, such as Copline, but one student has taken it upon herself to offer support in her own way. 

Delivery for the Mind, founded by sophomore Annabell Smith-Grimm, is an organization that promotes mental health and suicide awareness, specifically for first responders. With this organization, members show their appreciation for first responders and the work that they do. 

“My organization is all about providing first responders, mostly firefighters, with acknowledgment,” Smith-Grimm said. “Knowing that we see the things that they’re doing, the sacrifices they make for us, and making sure that they know they are cared for and that we appreciate everything that they do.“

As part of their goals, Grimm hopes to inspire others to go out and help in their own way, and her organization’s impact is reaching past Texas’ borders already. 

“I’m really trying to let other people to go out and do something in their community with the people behind the scenes,” Smith-Grimm said. “Like police officers, firefighters, even nurses. They have to work all night long and typically they don’t have food provided for them. They have to pack a lunch or get their food from the vending machine. We’re making sure that everyone gets some sort of acknowledgment. Like this past year, my aunt and my grandmother up in Ohio went around to fire stations using part of our donations and delivered food there.”

Grimm has had personal experience with the devastation that can result from untreated mental health issues. As a tribute to a late family member, she wanted to show firefighters, in both states, that they are appreciated. 

“My uncle was a firefighter, and he passed away because of his mental health,” Smith-Grimm said. “So I started Delivery for the Mind a few months after his death to show our appreciation, and show all of our firefighters in Texas and Ohio that we appreciate them.”

 Grimm wants to acknowledge the heroic acts of these workers that can sometimes go unseen, and just how significant their lives are

“I think we’re putting out the message that the people behind the scenes are the most important people,” Smith-Grimm said. “You know that they’re important but you don’t really see what they do. They still have a big impact on everything around us.”

Going to so many fire stations means they’re bound to run into some familiar faces, and these chance encounters make their gratitude all the more profound. 

“A lot of the firefighters rotate between stations, so I’ll go to one station, and I’ll see a firefighter from a past year,” Smith-Grimm said. “They all remember you from that year because you did something really meaningful. One of my brothers’ friends, his dad was a firefighter he went to one of his stations. He saw us and said stuff like “I can’t believe you did this, this is great,” It’s nice to see people that you know.” 

The goal of all of this is to express the importance of showing people how much the community cares about them, especially while they’re still there for everyone to show gratitude for all the little things they do. 

“Even if it’s just a small thing, like someone held the door for you, or they’re just a really nice person, make sure you tell them you appreciate them,” Smith-Grimm said. “Because you may not get the chance to later. It may be too late.” 

 

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Ava Hardin, VOW staff
Ava Hardin is a junior at Willis High School. This is her first year as a member of the yearbook and newspaper staff. This school year she's serving as Vice-President Social Officer on Sweethearts and secretary of her  Cohort.
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