Aftermath Chats are our way of connecting the PTSD-support community and highlighting some of the amazing work being done.
Today we feature Calorado Hudkins, an Alberta-based firefighter and founder of True Heroes Coffee Co Ltd. Calorado is dedicated not only to serving his community of Grande Prairie, Alberta, but also to supporting organizations which support the mental health of first responders, local schools, and community initiatives.
Camp Aftermath (CA): Tell us a bit about yourself as a first responder?
I’m currently a firefighter starting my 6th year with the County of Grande Prairie Regional Fire Service. I’ve been involved for over 8 years since fire school and I’m early in my career hoping to make it a full-fledged service to retirement.
CA: Why did you decide to dedicate yourself to a career in service?
I have always had a passion for giving, helping, and sharing everything I can. I was raised knowing that giving is the ultimate creator of happiness as each one of us finds a purpose – this feeds our soul. I have served in many ways starting with my community via sports, by coaching, volunteering, and helping in many similar ways. Practising service to others has been taught to me since I could speak, and I’m always willing to help. Once I joined Fire Rescue I realized it is much more than myself and what I can do, but more of how I can serve the community through service with my brothers and sisters.
CA: Why did you start up True Heroes Coffee?
True Heroes Coffee came about because I have always wanted to run a business and be my own boss. I chose coffee because I noticed that many of the first-responder services RUN on coffee, and my individual service was buying some really BAD coffee. I wanted to change the quality of coffee that each service receives to improve their everyday lives. Once I noticed how easily people could get on board with quality coffee, I tried to figure out a way that I could connect it to my other passion for Fire and Emergency services. I soon noticed the growing awareness of PTSD, mental health, and suicide prevention in our frontline workers and decided that this is what I wanted to focus on. That wasn’t where it stopped for me, because I wanted to help more than just the True Heroes of our communities; I wanted to help our communities on a whole other level.
True Heroes Coffee focuses on “Taking Care of the People Taking Care of Us” and “Building our Community One Sip at a Time”. We donate a portion of all sales to foundations and charities built for First Responders and other surrounding fields in which people may suffer from mental health issues. We also collaborate with other programs and businesses to further the funding and awareness efforts behind our mission. We’re a company built around giving back to the community with a special focus on our True Heroes. We look forward to growing across Canada and providing some much-needed support for our service members.
CA: What do you think about Camp Aftermath’s novel approach to PTSD treatment through active philanthropy?
I think developing a sense of purpose is needed for anyone. I know it has helped my own mental health in many ways by keeping me focused and making me feel good about giving back. It also helps develop a team sense which gives many people the protection and comfort they need to continue through life.
Watching the Camp Aftermath videos and reading the brochure helped me understand the thoughts and ideas behind your organization. What you have is a great way to get people out of their own heads and into the community by turning their focus to something meaningful. This helps them to manage their own lives and reintroduces them to the general population. I think it’s an amazing way to branch out and help them develop better PTSD management strategies and feel comfortable finding the help they need.
I look forward to learning more, volunteering, and attending events. I am excited to have True Heroes collaborate with Camp Aftermath and eventually sponsor sending people through the camp.
Connect with Calorado and True Heroes Coffee Co Ltd.
How you can help
There are currently many amazing programs that focus on helping veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD. If you believe in our cause, please help us make Roto 0, our first retreat, a success and consider donating to our campaign on Canada Helps.
We are a registered charity with Canada Revenue Agency. For more information, please visit our status page on the Canada Revenue Agency website.