Third Mental Health Walk Travels Through Alameda

Barney Smith -- Event participants greet each other in front of Alameda Fire Station 1 on Encinal Avenue before taking part in the third annual Mental Health Walk on Jan. 8.
Barney Smith -- Event participants greet each other in front of Alameda Fire Station 1 on Encinal Avenue before taking part in the third annual Mental Health Walk on Jan. 8.

Third Mental Health Walk Travels Through Alameda

Dozens of first responders and their loved ones took part in the third annual Livermore, Pleasanton, City of Alameda Mental Health Walk on Jan. 8 and 9.

The two-day 50K walk, about 31 miles, spanned four cities. Participants started the walk at the Livermore/Pleasanton Fire Station 6, located at 4550 East Ave. in Livermore, at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7. The group traveled to Pleasanton Fire Station 2, located at 6300 Stoneridge Mall Road, in Pleasanton. From there, the group walked to Three Crosses Church, located at 20600 John Drive, in Castro Valley.

The event picked up the next day at 4 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8. The group traveled from Three Crosses Church to Alameda City Fire Station 1, at 2401 Encinal Ave. The final leg of the event saw the group walk to Alameda City Fire Station 4, at 2595 Mecartney Road.

The Mental Health Walk was formed to raise awareness of the issue of mental health among Fire Service first responders, law enforcement, and dispatchers. Event co-organizer Barney Smith created the event three years ago after the passing of his father, Edward Smith III, who died from suicide in 2019. Smith was an Alameda Fire Department (AFD) firefighter for 30 years before his death. Former AFD deputy chief Steve Jones is also a co-organizer.

Donations were collected at the event and prior to online. All proceeds were donated to the Livermore-Pleasanton Firefighter Foundation and the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

The Livermore-Pleasanton Firefighters Foundation (LPFF) is a non-profit organization created to support injured and fallen firefighters, police officers, EMS personnel, dispatchers and their families. The foundation supports the community by donating to local charities. LPFF also offers scholarships to those with a desire to work in public service.

Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death.

To learn more about LFPP, visit www.lpfirefoundation.com. To learn more about AFSP, visit www.afsp.org.