first responders

Darryl Smith of Columbia address the audience during a presentation of the new First Responders Support non-profit organization. Smith is a member of the group's advisory panel.

A new non-profit group called First Responder Support has been organized in Boone County with the goal of promoting goodwill between first responders and the community, increasing awareness of the realities facing first responders, and providing relief and support to those who serve Boone County as first responders.

"During my time with the Columbia Police Department, I saw firsthand the emotional toll that critical incidents can have on first responders, including myself,” said former Columbia police officer Turner Schuster, who is a member of the groups advisory panel. “I believe that anything organizations, such as First Responder Support, can do to help support those who serve our community is critical and should be vigorously pursued. Doing so will help our officers, fire fighters, paramedics, and dispatchers not only survive their long careers, but thrive."

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