Our Outreach Division is very active and has raised thousands of dollars for various charities including: FoodShare, the Arthritis Association, Channel Three Kids Camp, and Massage Therapy Foundation. In addition we have gathered toys for the Mill Foundation at Christmas, rallied in Voluntown at the Extreme Home Make-Over site providing massage for all workers, worked on the volunteers at the Women’s World Tennis Association in New Haven, and have participated in the Dental Mission of Mercy since its inception. Outreach events continue to evolve as we now include Legislative Awareness Day and National Massage Therapy Awareness Week in our event calendar.
Our Emergency Division has participated in several drills: A mock train crash in Old Saybrook, a mock air crash at the Groton Airport and several Red Cross Shelter drills. In October of 2016, we participated in an I.M.P.A.C.T. Training for an active shooter drill at a school in Vernon. And, since its beginning in 2015, we have been a part of the 3 day EMS EXPO held annually at Mohegan Sun These activities have allowed us to maintain readiness in the event that we are called up to serve during a disaster.
Actual deployments of the emergency division include the explosion at the O&G plant in Middletown, CT; MA for Tornado Relief/Recovery; Red Cross during hurricane Irene clean up and recovery, the Newtown, Sandy Hook shooting; Boston following Marathon bombings; the Mercy Center in Madison to support “Traumas in our Ministries” Pastoral Counselors, Clergy and Social Service Workers involved in disasters counseling; a second retreat at the Mercy Center in Madison to support those that minister to victims of disaster; and a small quick response team to a firehouse in Willimantic, CT due to the large waste paper plant fire.
Those are the activity highlights of the AMTA-CT, CSMT Emergency and Outreach Division and our participation as a team has been profound, inspiring and emotional. The impact on each of us as team members has been equally so. Being a part of this team has forged incredibly strong bonds of friendship and respect. Being greeted at the EMS EXPO by first responders saying ”I can’t believe that you guys do this for us” and “this is such an incredible service”. Being at a deployment and being thanked so effusively by a 1st or 2nd responder is humbling and moving. Being able to be of service, doing what we love to do as massage therapists and provide stress relief and respite in tense situations is profound, inspiring and emotional — both as a team and as an individual.
Deb Van Ohlen
CSMT Emergency Division Chair