Let’s make Thank a First Responder Day everyday – thank you for your support!

Two simple words have had a real and powerful impact this week as Australian’s everywhere embraced Thank a First Responder Day. 

From mining communities in remote Western Australia to Admiralty House on the shores of Sydney Harbour, people and agencies at the front line of our health, safety and security received the “thank you” they richly deserve. 

While Thank a First Responder Day is an initiative of Fortem Australia, the message to the wider community has been that this day belongs to you – run with it, and this year we saw that take another leap forward. 

We saw a doubling in website activity, with people drawn to the online gratitude tools we provided – activity was up 360% on last year, a great reward for the insights gained in 2020 and the work and investment in those tools. 

The interest and engagement of agencies across the country was also up, further acceptance of the day being bigger than Fortem, some of the highlights include; Queensland Corrective ServicesNT Police, Fire and Emergency ServicesVictoria PoliceAustralian Border ForceMarine Rescue NSW, ACT Emergency Services Agency and many more. 

Community, business and sporting groups lent their weight to the message including the Freemantle DockersBega Valley Library ServiceCanberra RaidersThe Tradies ClubMuffin Break and others. 

Our political leaders stepped up including the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader, and a number of state premiers and various members of parliament.  

Kids had a big impact with schools and preschools getting on board with their art and simple words of respect, check out the gratitude gallery and our Facebook page.   

The media played their part with coverage on ABC, SBS, and The Canberra Times, as well as a number of other regional and metro radio stations and newspapers.  

And of course, landmarks and monuments around Australia turned teal to cap off the day.   

All this is possible because of the respect and growing reputation of Fortem Australia, built on the hard work, commitment and relationships of our impressive team in Queensland, NSW, ACT, and Victoria.  

It also points to the growing awareness within our community of the work and needs of first responders and their families – our advocacy is paying off, but there is still much to do.

From an internal perspective it was inspiring to see every corner of our growing organisation pitching in and working shoulder to shoulder. We are a very new group of workmates, who know each other a bit better this week after working so closely together hosting BBQ breakfasts, morning and afternoon teas, dropping off thank you packages, organised a range of family based activities, and the myriad of other things that go with driving a national event.

This is only the second year for the event, the hard work of co-founder Lauren Philips and the circumstances surrounding the first Thank a First Responder Day in 2020 have laid the foundations for continued growth. Its important that we continue to evolve the day and shortly team Fortem will reflect and collect the ideas that grow and improve the event. Your input is welcome HERE.

In 2022, Thank a First Responder Day will fall on June 8 and continue on the second Wednesday in June each year.  

In various media opportunities recently I’ve talked about those two simple words, thank you, having a big impact. I say those same words to my team at Fortem and everyone who got involved this year – thank you, and hope that you feel the weight of my respect and gratitude. 

It’s a long weekend for many – please enjoy, take that time to connect with community and build your mental fitness.


John Bale

Managing Director, Co-founder

Fortem Australia

Thank a First Responder Day is an initiative of not-for-profit agency Fortem Australia and first responder agencies across Australia.

Mental health resources for first responders and their families can be found in the Fortem Resource Library.

Photo: The smiles say it all. Free coffee for first responders at Amanti Di Caffe at Griffith Central, NSW.

Fortem activities, events and community engagements are designed to support the mental fitness of our first responder families. Read more about Our Approach.
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