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Ellis family works to end mental health stigma for first responders

Posted: 9:58 AM, Jul 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-18 18:46:22-04

BOISE — For as long as Ethan Ellis can remember he has wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and become a firefighter.

Jake Ellis worked for 27 years and retired in 2014 as a Battalion Chief with the Boise Fire Department, and the Ellis family has been instrumental in trying to end the mental health stigma for first responders.

Jake Ellis implemented programs to help firefighters and continues to make a difference as a lawmaker in Idaho, but his son is also making a difference. Ethan organized the Tri Fit Challenge back in May to raise awareness for first responders.

"That is what this event is all about, working with people and seeing what we can do, and having the Tri Fit Challenge be an awareness event for mental health and to learn more about Post Traumatic Stress Injuries (PTSI)."

Ethan is well on his way to becoming a firefighter. He just graduated from high school, but he has already received his EMT certification.

Jake Ellis said he's proud of his son, but he does have concerns for his son because he knows the strain the job can put on firefighters and their families.

"I have to tell you, I'm afraid," said Jake. "Like any parent that has children in the military, in a sense you are sending your son into danger."