With a passion for helping others, Dustin Sieker touched many lives during his short time on Earth.
“He was extremely loving and caring and it’s not often you meet a person that special,” says Colton Tiedeman, Dustin’s partner. “Just watching him interact with his peers, friends, family and strangers, I knew he was a genuine soul. He was hands down one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen or felt.”
It was a shock to many when Dustin died by suicide in May 2018 at the age of 36. From that shock and grief, friends and family banded together to help raise awareness of the effects of PTSD in first responders, and the increasing rate of suicide among this population.
In recognition of that smile and big heart, Dustin’s family and friends came together to ensure his legacy lives on, establishing the ‘Talk to Me’ First Responder Fund with the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta. The ‘Talk to Me’ First Responder Fund will focus on supporting the broad range of first responders who serve our communities and will also contribute to mental health initiatives and support including suicide prevention and awareness and treatment for those enduring PTSD.
For Dustin’s family, parents Doug and Belinda Sieker, sister and brother-in-law Amanda and Chad Longson, nephews Landon, Jaxson, and Hudson; sister Ashlee Pollock, nieces Cailley and McKenna, along with former brother-in-law Jamie Pollock, ensuring his legacy lives on is incredibly important.
“Dustin was very dedicated to helping people and was passionate about his career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and EMS Operations Supervisor in Grande Prairie, Dustin was an integral part of the first responder community. He was a tremendous support for new recruits. Dustin’s mom Belinda shared, “Dustin was very dedicated to helping people and was passionate about his career. Even though Dustin has passed, the fact that his name and this fund will continue to give back and support the community is massive to us.”
“Dustin was a friend to everyone he knew,” says best friend and mentor Jamie Pollock. “When we would go to the hospital to check on things, he would talk to everybody. He knew all of the hospital staff by their first name. He had this ability to make others feel at ease and make you laugh.”
Whether it was on the job or hanging out with family and friends, Dustin’s personality shone through. “His nieces and nephews adored him. He really was the best uncle ever. He enjoyed spending time with the kids, playing and getting into trouble with them, being a big kid himself,” says Jamie. “His family and friends filled his heart.”
While those who knew him have their memories, Dustin’s impact will continue to be felt by those who never had the chance to meet him. Colton expressed, “I couldn’t be prouder of the person I met and got to share my life with. I am excited to see what’s in store in Dustin’s honour and the impact this fund may have on the first responders and mental health.”
You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. When you make a donation to the Talk to Me First Responder Fund, we invest that gift into a permanent endowment fund and the original gift is never spent. Earnings from your gift are distributed to projects and/or programs that support mental health initiatives for first responders including police, emergency medical services, firefighters, search and rescue personnel in volunteer or professional capacities, and also may provide training and/or professional development for first responders, in Northwestern Alberta. Donations can be made online here https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/58909 – or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820.