Mason City family and community members honor first responders
(ABC 6 News) – Mason City’s Central Park was filled with life Sunday afternoon as people came together to remember and honor unforgotten heroes.
The Bergan family, lost their daughter and sister, Kaitlin Bergan, an EMS and firefighter to suicide on April 27, 2022. She suffered from PTSD on the job, came together with the community to show solidarity with fellow first responders.
Kaitlin’s Heart for Heroes is new to Mason City but was put together by Mason City first responders and Bergan’s family, brought them together with the community to let first responders know, people are here for them.
“Kaitlin was a super hero,” said Scott Bergan, Kaitlin’s father. “She really was.”
“She didn’t let anyone tell her how to live her life, and she just wanted to help people,” added Craig Bergan, one of Kaitlin’s two brothers.
Family and friends of Kaitlin Bergan say if she had her heart set on something there was no stopping her. They say her determination and the life she lived dedicated to others is what made her an EMS super hero.
But many of these kinds of heroic first responders suffer from mental health struggles too. Bergan the super hero, took her own life in 2022 after a battle with PTSD.
“It’s been difficult,” said Lorena Bergan, Kaitlin’s mother. “Suicide is something we’ve never thought we’d have to face, but since we are. We have decided that we are going to make sure that we can help other people.”
And others have stepped in to help the Bergan family as well. That’s why lifelong friends of the Bergan’s and other first responders took some heroic actions themselves. Leading them to create Kaitlin’s Heart for Heroes.
Carla Miller is a life long friend of Kaitlin’s parents. Her daughter grew up with Kaitlin as they attended many of the same schools together as kids.
“”To see this happen has been very heart-wrenching and has really made it a big thing so that we can support them and support the first responders,” said Miller.
“When first responders take their own lives, they leave their families behind and they need our support more than anyone else,” added Amber Nuehring, a fellow first responder that works in dispatch.
Over fifty community members, friends and first responders are dressing as heroes in honor of Bergan and other first responders lost to suicide
All the money raised is going back treatment. To make sure other families don’t lose their own beloved heroes because of mental health.
“We’re here to support our first responders so they don’t have to take their lives like our daughter did,” said Scott Bergan.
The flags at the Iowa State Capital will be raised at half mass in honor of Kailtin Monday morning. The Bergan family and organizers are hopeful this event is just the beginning of a foundation to not only support northern Iowa, but the entire state.
To find out more on how you can help Kaitlin’s Heart for Heroes foundation grow, visit Kaitlin’s Heart for Heroes website here.