First Responders Battle The Emotional Trauma of Train Crash 11/19/12
CBS 7 News Reporter
November 19, 2012
MIDLAND, TX - Flags fly at half-staff in honor of those who lost their lives in the train crash. Although things seem back to normal for many, the emotional wounds are just sinking in for several others in the community.
"Your emotions we're to be excited and to have a great day …that was turned in a fraction of a second," said Midland Vets Center Clinical Director Dennis Wright.
Wright, a combat veterans’ counselor, stated this tragedy could bring back emotional traumas of the past for war heroes.
"They will go through how this reminds them of traumas they went through in combat. So they're going to be dealing with two traumas," said Wright.
He stated that the crash could cause feelings and scenarios of a time at war.
But the veterans aren’t the only ones suffering emotionally from the crash. First responders who came to the aid of victims are dealing with the major tragedy as well.
"You know they're very emotional about it still. My first day back at work was this morning. A lot of the guys are still dealing with this and they will be for a while.... and forever really. Some of that never really goes away," said Midland Fire Captain Drew Peters.
Residents have placed memorials at the crash site on Industrial and Garfield. First responders stated these are symbols of the community reaching out in a time of grief.
"We [firefighters] have this system to help deal with bad scenes, very stressful situations. But the whole community in Midland and in Odessa, even past that...they're having problems with it too. That's why after events like this we have candle light vigils," said Peters.
Midland fire fighters are going through a system of de-briefing and peer counseling to take on the trauma.
The Hunt for Heroes event was filled with symbolism, on many levels. Now the lost of these heroes has a community mourning across the nation.
The Midland Fire Department plans to have another debriefing tomorrow. For veterans or their families needing to speak with someone on handling the grief, contact the Midland Vet Center at (432) 697-8222. For children contact Rays of Hope at (432) 684-5437. You can also contact your local health professional for more information.