SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A major community effort in support of our First Responders happens this weekend.
It is another powerful example of 'The Helpers' in our communities -- supporting the people who help us during disasters and times of need.
"It'll be a night of joy and sharing and celebration. But, it'll also be a night to honor those who've served and given their life in a very special way for these communities that we live in," said Mike McGrew, 911AEI Co-Founder, CEO and Executive Director.
911AEI started seven years ago under the Santa Barbara Police Foundation umbrella but grew fast and large up and down the South and Central Coasts, branching off into its own non-profit, two years ago.
911AEI provides free, confidential counseling for post-traumatic stress issues impacting First Responders. To date, more than 600 First Responders and families each year have sought the services which now extend to seven states and a handful of countries.
McGrew worked homicide for 31 years with the Santa Barbara Police Department. He knows first hand about this career-saving -- and life-saving -- support service.
"Traditionally, First Responders had several barriers to reach out and to get help and they're people just like anybody else. And, we do need help as we go through layered trauma and the significant events that First Responders have to deal with -- they deal with things that most people would never have to deal with. And so, we're here for them."
Officer Luca Benedetti, who died in a gun battle in San Luis Obispo back in May, is one of two officers who will be honored.
The 'Fun with the Force' event is Sunday, October 3 at the Nesbitt Estate. A large gathering is expected, safely, outdoors along with bands, food and a great time for all those participating.
Click here to purchase a ticket, make a donation or for more information.