After witnessing Blossvale tragedy, first responders deal with grief

By By PAT BAILEY

BLOSSVALE, N.Y. (WKTV) - State Police say one of their own witnessed Adam Theall shoot and kill his three month-old son in Blossvale on Tuesday.

As a result, police say counselors will be available to Carlo Gennario, the state trooper who witnessed the murder.

Utica Deputy Fire Chief Brendan Dunn is part of the Oneida-Herkimer Critical Incident Stress Management Tam - a team who helps first responders in two neighboring counties deal with traumatic situations they are involved in.

According to Dunn, many times a traumatic scene leaves a "deep impact" on a first responder, especially if a child or a co-worker is injured. In these cases, peer counseling usually helps by discussing what happened and what was seen, since post traumatic stress is different for each individual.

"For the normal, everyday person, they may see something tragic like this once in a lifetime," Dunn said. "For an emergency responder or the military, it may be a way of life."

Even with all the training in the world, first responders can not always prepare for things they see and deal with, Dunn said. He says you have to remember first responders are human beings too, especially when the badge or uniform is off.

Dunn says not every first responder may seek help, even if the need it. He said the best person to see warning signs, or if help is needed, is a first responder's supervisor, because they tend to know their employees the best.

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