Montana Erickson was a competitive swimmer and a creative and funny girl who loved her friends and family very much
One 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 came together to support her and her family.
On Nov. 15, Erickson was called to a vehicle collision north of Airdrie where, unbeknownst to her, one of the injured passengers was her 17-year-old daughter, Montana. Due to the severity of Montana’s injuries, Erickson did not know she had been caring for her only child for more than 20 minutes before STARS arrived to transport Montana to the hospital, where she died three days later.
“She was a fighter and fought until the day she died. And she was beautiful, she was so beautiful,” Erickson said Tuesday during a news conference at an Airdrie fire hall.
“Every first responder can relate to the pain we feel. No one wants to go through something like this and I just want my baby girl’s memory to live on and I want everyone to know how much she meant to us and how much she meant to all means my co-workers.”
Montana was a competitive swimmer and a creative and funny girl who loved her friends and family very much. Many called her a “firecracker” who had dreams of becoming a lawyer after high school.
Despite the family’s loss, Montana’s death meant life to 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 organs, two of them that were donated were life-saving and we are so happy to know that our baby girl lives on through others. . . In the wake of this tragedy, she saved other people. We know this is what she would have wanted and we are so proud of her.”
As she spoke, Erickson was flanked by more than two dozen first responders from across the county, primarily the Rocky View region.
“I know many people here, I have worked closely with them and they know my daughter through me so they feel my pain, but I also know that all my co-workers who are also parents, they know that this is our worst fear and I know that they don’t wish this on anyone. . . . Their support is incredible and overwhelming,” she said.
Chad Durocher said the family’s loss was felt throughout the first responder communityplatoon leader at the Airdrie Fire department.
“All first responders share the terrible fear of having to attend a call where the patient is our parent, our spouse, our friend or, God forbid, our child,” he said. “Seeing tragedy and terrible situations is just the reality of what we encounter every day in uniform. . . Emotional trauma for first responders is real and it is deep. It is almost impossible to explain this kind of trauma to those who have not experienced it.”
Durocher’s wife, Deana Davison, an EMT with the Maskwacis Ambulance Authority, said it is essential for first responders to access help and support when they need it.
“As many of us know, myself included, it helps to seek help for this type of injury. But that doesn’t take it away. These things stay with you forever. We are all just one call away from never having to do this job again,” she said.
“First responders: please be kind to each other, look out for each other, be present for each other and, please, if you’re struggling, reach out. No one leaves any of the first responder professions unscathed.”
A GoFundMe page, started to raise funds for Montana’s funeral and support Erickson, had raised more than $50,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.