This week I was in Vegas for a client’s open enrollment. This trip had been scheduled weeks before the mass shooting and I was quite looking forward to the trip between getting to see our clients in the Vegas area and enjoying some great food, there is nowhere else in the world quite like Vegas. However, as I was preparing to leave and heard the news of the shooting, it completely shifted my focus to how I personally could support our clients and the city while I was down there. I had no idea what the atmosphere would be like when I arrived but I should have guessed that Vegas would pull together and support each other through this tragedy.
The emotions down there ranged from solemn, to anger, to anxiety over the unknown, to great sadness. You could feel people reaching out for support, talking about the incident, and wanting to encourage each other. The word resilience, solidarity, and strength constantly popped in my mind as I walked the streets and talked to locals. The police were out in full support, talking to tourists and locals alike, on the sidewalks, on the streets, and in venues. It was amazing to me to see the police force stand together and willingly work overtime so that the rest of the community could feel supported and protected. Everyone I talked to, both locals and tourists, were appreciative of the support and attentiveness of the police and other first responders. Words cannot express the gratitude I heard and felt towards those who gave up vacations, wedding anniversary plans, and sleep in order to help their city. You could not go 10 feet without seeing the now trending hashtag #VegasStrong, or seeing advertisements for free counseling and other support services. (http://www.ktnv.com/news/counseling-trauma-relief-services-made-available-following-las-vegas-shooting) Venues, superstars, locals, and workplaces could all be seen working together, offering help with what they could.
As I talked to various locals about the experience, it was clear that though this act would be etched in their minds for a long time, the sense of unity and connectedness was firmly stated. During my stay, the names of the victims had not been released yet, which made many people unsure if they knew someone among the injured or dead. Parents expressed concern over their children’s’ friends who did not show up for school on Monday.
The biggest question on everyone’s mind was “why?” Unfortunately, this still has not been explained. Even now, the FBI and local first responders continue to pick through evidence, review what happened, and decipher the reasoning behind this shooting. I am very grateful for their efforts and the opportunity to experience the camaraderie amongst those that I talked to and helped while I was there. There is not enough “thank yous” and praise to go around to all those who have stepped up to help, support, and give services. I am very proud to work for an organization and with affiliates who stepped up to provide process groups and counseling to employees, family members, and household members who were affected by this tragedy. Through quick responses and taking time away from other responsibilities, MINES and its affiliates have set up groups to go through the different stages of grief, PTSD, and how to help those who are struggling with this event. It was a great privilege to see this happen first hand while I was in town.
The United States has faced many tragedies in the last several years, both from man and nature. However, in each city that something has happened, it has brought the city together and made the city stronger, better, and full of community support. New programs come out of tragedy and new support systems are created. I am optimistic that the same will happen with Vegas. I look forward to traveling back there and seeing how the community has come together after this event and how they are stronger overall. I want to encourage any of you who knew someone who was at the concert or lives in Vegas to seek out counseling support to help you work through this horrific event and the aftermath that is to follow. And as always, MINES is here to support you and your companies if you need it. Please feel free to outreach us at 1-800-873-7138 if there is anything we can do.
To Your Wellbeing,
The MINES Team