First responders gather around mother after daughter’s tragic death

Montana Erickson was a competitive swimmer and a creative and fun girl who loved her friends and family dearly

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A week after an Airdrie mother and paramedic responded to a fatal accident involving her own daughter, Jayme Erickson’s colleagues and the greater Alberta community have joined in support of her and her family.

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On November 15, Erickson was called to a vehicle collision north of Airdrie in which, unbeknownst to her, one of the injured passengers was her 17-year-old daughter Montana. Due to the severity of Montana’s injuries, Erickson was unaware that she had cared for their only child for more than 20 minutes before STARS arrived to rush Montana to the hospital, where she died three days later.

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“She was a fighter and she fought to her death. And she was beautiful, she was so beautiful,” Erickson said Tuesday during a news conference at an Airdrie fire station.

“Any first responder can relate to the pain we feel. No one wants to go through something like that and I just want the memory of my little girl to live on and I want everyone to know how much she meant to us and how much she means to all my colleagues.”

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Montana was a competitive swimmer and a creative and fun girl who loved her friends and family dearly. Many called her a “banger” who dreamed of becoming a lawyer after high school.

Despite the loss of family, Montana’s death has meant the lives of at least two organ donor recipients.

“Montana was able to give one last gift and she was able to donate her organs,” Erickson said through tears. “Of her donated organs, two were life-saving and we are so fortunate to know that our little girl is alive through others. . . After this tragedy, she saved other people. We know it’s what she would have wanted and we’re so proud of her.”

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As she spoke, Erickson was flanked by more than two dozen first responders from across the province, mostly from the Rocky View area.

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“I know a lot of people here, I’ve worked closely with them and they know my daughter through me, so they feel my pain, but I also know that all my colleagues who are also parents know that’s our biggest fear and I know they don’t wish it on anyone. . . . Your support is amazing and overwhelming,” she said.

The loss of family has been felt throughout the first responder community, Chad Durocher saidTrain chief at Airdrie Fire department.

“All first responders share the terrifying fear that we have to attend a call where the patient is our parent, spouse, friend or, God forbid, our child,” he said. “Seeing tragedy and terrible situations is just the reality of what we have to face every day in uniform. . . Emotional trauma for first responders is real and deep. It’s almost impossible to explain this type of trauma to those who don’t experience it.”

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Paramedic Jayme Erickson is comforted by family, friends and colleagues as he speaks to the media at a fire hall in Airdrie on Tuesday.
Paramedic Jayme Erickson is comforted by family, friends and colleagues as he speaks to the media at a fire hall in Airdrie on Tuesday. Gavin Young/Post Media

Durocher’s wife, Deana Davison, a paramedic at the Maskwaci’s Ambulance Authority said it’s crucial for first responders to be able to access help and support when they need it.

“As many of us know, myself included, seeking help with this type of injury helps. But it doesn’t take it away. These things stay with you forever. We’re all just a phone call away from never doing that job again,” she said.

“First Responders: Please be kind to one another, look after one another, be there for one another and please reach out if you have difficulties. No one leaves any of the first responder professions unscathed.”

A GoFundMe page, which began raising money for Montana’s funeral and supporting Erickson, had raised more than $50,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

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