For some entering the doors of the Clark County Coroner’s Office is part of the final journey, for others, it’s just the beginning.
‘They do and see things that 99 percent of the population will never see in their entire life,” said Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg.
Inside the Clark County Coroner’s Office, death is a part of life.
“Wellness, resiliency and emotional support is something that all first responders need on a regular basis.”
For coroner John Fudenberg, the need for that support was overwhelming after 1 October.
“Overnight, we received 58 victims and the one shooter in our office. So, we’re immediately introduced to these. To these decedents that are on top of the 49 deaths a day that happen in Clark County,” he said.
All that’s left, grace the walls of their office. The reminders of gratitude.
Some memories hit harder than others.
“Often times people will tell me I can’t get my mind to be still. I can’t stop my mind from racing,” Fundenberg said.
Nicole Charlton is Fudenberg’s assistant. She’s still struggling to cope.
“It was sleeping at night, it was the constant thinking of what had happened, it was the stress of you know we dealt with 1 October, the issues months and months after the decedents were no longer in our office,” she said.
Seeking peace of mind, Charlton finds refuge within the very walls where she confronts tragedy.
“You are grounded, you are safe,” says the yoga instructor.
Charlton is part of a group first responders turning to weekly yoga and meditation sessions offered at the coroner’s office.
“It has changed my life both in the office and outside of the office,” Charlton said.
The serenity of the present pulls them from the noise of the past.
Once too stunned to speak about the tragedy.
“It has helped me open up to my family and my peers of course,” Charlton said.
Just days after 1 October, Fudenberg offered these alternative methods to traditional counseling. They help his team process what’s happened but also what’s to come.
“The regular deaths of the day don’t stop when we have a mass shooting,” he said.
Nearly a year later.
“Our staff still, on a regular basis field phone calls from some of those victims families,” Fundenberg said.
Though the bodies are long gone, the presence of those killed remains.
“Some aren’t prepared to ask the questions early on but they may be 11 months later and that will continue for years.”