WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Newton-area law enforcement community is remembering the life of Brian Rousseau after the North Newton Police officer died after health complications from the coronavirus.
For those who knew him, they say he defined the first responders way of life. In other words, he put others before himself. It wasn’t too long ago, the man who helped others was, at one point, afraid to ask for help. Rousseau opened up about his own struggles to KSN last year.
“Things just kind of kept stacking up, stacking up and stacking up,” said Rousseau to KSN back on February 17, 2020.
Rousseau opened up about his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, and how prior to asking for help, he said he was on the verge of losing his family and his life, because of anger and substance abuse issues.
“I moved out of my house a few weeks before Christmas a few years back. From there, my kids were afraid to be around me, my anger, my issues I had. And there was a lot of heavy drinking,” said Rousseau. “Just the persona that we have, we’re all ‘Type A’s’, is that I don’t need help, I’m fine.”
But with the help of his wife Erin, they found “Warriors’ Ascent,” a program that helps veterans and first responders battle PTSD through meditation, exercise, nutrition, and mindfulness. The program’s executive director, Mike Kenny, remembers how much of an advocate Brian became.
“You’ve got to have the intrinsic motivation to attend and really again embrace what it is that we’re teaching and again to Brian’s credit he’s like hey man I need to make some changes,” said Kenny.
In February 2020, Brian remarked about how much the program helped him recover and live his life.
“I feel 100% better. I’m not as tense. I’m able to have conversations. Before it was the smallest things and it was World War three. My anger and hypervigilance just came over me,” said Rousseau.
In a statement to KSN, North Newton Police Chief Randy Jordan said “Brian was very dedicated to the profession. He was the kind of officer that if things went bad, you would want him beside you. He was a joy to be around in the office — a great sense of humor and a genuine love for life. We lost a terrific officer and a terrific person.”
Prior to becoming a North Newton police officer, Rousseau was with the Newton Police Department for 18 years. He leaves behind a wife and two children.