A Christmas message from Fortem’s Family Ambassador

Children and family members of Emergency Service workers,

My name is Piper Johnson and I have recently been offered the position as Fortem Australia’s first Family Ambassador. I am 12 years old, in the 6th grade and am the daughter of Fire and Rescue NSW Station Officer, Brett Johnson, who has been in the industry for 23 years. I first appeared on the Fortem website due to a school speech competition in which I chose to talk about mental health and a concept I created called “ESKies” (Emergency Service Kiddies). I have been fortunate enough to have Fortem want to work with me on this new concept and to spread more awareness about Youth Mental Health as an ESKie.

Piper Johnson, Fortem Family Ambassador and founder of the ESKies community

This letter is addressed to every single member of the Emergency Service Community. And let me start off by saying that the past two years have been absolute chaos for everyone, especially children. But, hope is looming near as we come closer to an almost “fully vaxxed Christmas”. I am so looking forward to Christmas, because it is one day of the year that we get to see family and friends and celebrate the Christmas Spirit.

COVID has knocked us down, but like the song says, “I get knocked down, but I get up again.” Everyone in Australia has put in so much effort to get to a Christmas with more freedoms and family time. But, for some ESKies like me, my Dad is working on Christmas Eve. But just because you may not be together physically, you still have your emergency service family to count on.

The special thing about the Emergency Service Community is that, although we have experienced the unthinkable or unimaginable, we still come together to comfort and support each other. My family sure understands the struggles and different celebrations we share and having family members away to not physically celebrate. The magic about Christmas is knowing that it is a day full of joy and family, no matter what happens.

For all of the children that have mums, dads, sisters, brothers or other family members working on or around Christmas Day, know that we all understand how much we miss our families and that we will be waiting for them when they arrive home.

I hope that all of the Emergency Service Community have a very Merry Christmas, a safe and Happy New Year and an amazing rest of 2021, and I look forward to connecting with this community throughout 2022.

Piper Johnson
Fortem Family Ambassador, ESKie Founder