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Lasting effects of natural disasters on first responders

Posted at 4:39 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 19:51:39-04

TULSA, Okla. — Hurricanes and other natural disasters take a toll on those in the path of destruction.

That is especially true for first responders who see the worst of the worst when dealing with recovery.

Cory McKain is an Air Force veteran who has seen his fair share of things.

McKain is also a retired New Orleans police officer who now lives in Tulsa.

“That’s a day that I will never forget, of course. That day is August 29, 2005," McKain said.

That day Hurricane Katrina leveled the city of New Orleans.

McKain said years as a SWAT officer and veteran and all of his training couldn't prepare for what he saw.

“We were in the water for about 40 minutes, I saw my first body go floating by,” McKain said.

McKain said some officers could not deal with the death and destruction around them, so they took their own life.

McKain sought mental health counseling over time to deal with the devastation and death he witnessed.

Sixteen years later and McKain said he is still haunted by that day.

“I put Katrina away and every time a storm comes up or it starts heading to New Orleans, certain things come up," McKain said.

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