Cpl. Curtis Barrett is being celebrated in his hometown of Labrador City this week as he prepares to share his experience with PTSD with first responders, high school students and cadets in the area.
On Friday night, at the opening ceremony of the region's winter carnival, Barrett was given the province's highest award for bravery to add to the Star of Courage he received last October for his actions during the attack on Ottawa in 2014.
He also received an army cadet metal, a key to Labrador City and a street was named Curtis Barrett Way.
"This means more to me — the hometown Labrador thing means more to me than all the Ottawa things that I received out there," Barrett said in a speech after the awards presentation.
"Everything that I became, everything that did all came out of Labrador. "
Meeting with first responders
Barrett's role in stopping the shooter on Parliament Hill wasn't initially recognized.
He led other police officers into the line of fire and shot at the attacker, but didn't have much contact with the RCMP afterwards — something he said put a strain on his mental health.
While in the region, which has been dealing with a recent mental health crisis, Barrett will be speaking with a number of groups about his experiences.
"I know that police and fire and ambulance here in town see a lot of terrible things and have to deal with people they live next to," he said.
"Hopefully I can reach out to them and show them that you can have an issue … and get the help you need and work at the job you love."
Becoming a national hero
Barrett's childhood cadet unit lined the Labrador West Arts and Culture Centre for the duration of ceremony.
"The 12-year-old boy I knew has now become the man that is now a national hero," said Captain Wayne Gordon, the commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps 2977.
"It's — you choke up on it a little bit."
The markings of the man Barrett would be come were apparent "very early on" according to Gordon, who added that Barrett comes from a policing family.
"He's been a soldier, a cadet and now as a Mountie he's proven that the character comes through," he said.
Barrett dedicated the recognition he received Friday night in part to his parents, and to his late cadet commanding officer, Capt. Ed Stanley.
"I can't thank enough the cadet corps," Barrett said. "From 12 years old to 19, they formed me."