East Hartford 5k part of race against first responder depression - WFSB 3 Connecticut

East Hartford 5k part of race against first responder depression, PTSD

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

The wife of a veteran police officer who took his own life more than two years ago is pushing forward with a mission to serve first responders.

This weekend, “Believe 208” will hold its annual 5k road race in East Hartford.

Trish Buchanan, the founder of Believe 208, said she is surrounded by memories of her husband Paul Buchanan.

She called him a loving husband and an exceptional father to their two sons.

“There are days when it's still very hard,” Trish Buchanan said. “I miss him terribly. He was my best friend, and we were married for over 29 years."

Trish Buchanan said that in Sept. 2012, she began to notice changes in her husband’s demeanor.

He slept more, ate less and suffered from panic attacks.

Trish Buchanan said while he confided in her, he also sought solitude. She said Paul Buchanan began seeing a psychiatrist and even took a leave of absence from work.

But shortly after his return in march, she said he relapsed.

On March 12, 2013, Paul Buchanan committed suicide at the police station in East Hartford.

“Paul actually packed a lunch that day, and how I wish he would have called me,” Trish Buchanan said. “But I think the pain that he had inside was so deep and so much more than I think any of us could have ever understood."

That’s why she said the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement founded Believe 208. The organization helps and connects first responders with resources to fight depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Paul Buchanan’s badge number was 208.

As part of her mission, Trish Buchanan randomly hands out "thank you" cards to officers and other first responders. One side has that simple message while the other has resources.

"I've bought Dunkin' Donuts coffee cards for them, and I'm not able to do it as often as I like, but I put the card with it and say 'I just have a great day,'" she said. “They have to be very brave and underneath, sometimes they're hurting very much. So it is my wish with Believe 208 to bring resources and training and to change some of the culture in law enforcement."

The organization’s upcoming annual road race is in honor of Deputy Chief Chris Corbett and Milford Officer Michael Compare.

Police said both took their lives within days of each other back in June.

“He helped so many people while he was living and doing the job that he did,” Trish Buchanan said. “I'd like to think that through his death we're going to save people also, and I'd like to think that he's smiling down on us."

The 5k is Sunday at 8:30 a.m. It starts at the Knights of Columbus on Main Street in East Hartford.

Online registration closes on Thursday, but runners can register the day of the race.

For more information on Believe 208, click here.

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