AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s been nearly 2 months since 19 children and 2 teachers were shot to death at a school in Uvalde, Texas. And as criticism in the response time of the officers continues, an Augusta man is sharing his experience with NewsChannel 6’s Barclay Bishop.

“Not cowards at all, nope,” said Andy Carrier, clinical social worker.

It’s the message Andy Carrier took away from his time working with some of the law enforcement officers who were first on the scene in the Uvalde mass shooting at Robb Elementary.

“A lot of these guys and gals are really, really hurting because of what they saw, what they went through. Then when you add on top of that the criticism, like I said the moral injury, it just compounds it that much more,” said Carrier.

A 30-plus year veteran in law enforcement, Carrier is now a clinical social worker in the Augusta area.
Within days of the Uvalde shooting he was on the scene counseling those in need.

“With a moral injury that was going on with the officers because of the scrutiny with the public, that was another reason that we had to get to them pretty quickly,” said Carrier.

He spent countless hours with the officers. And as word got around that he and others like him were in town, more people started showing up at their door.

“You know how it is, they were telling someone and so it finally got to the point where we were actually working with the first responders. And that went to the emergency room staff,” said Carrier.

Carrier said the outpouring of love and support in the community could be seen everywhere he turned.

“It was heartwarming but heart wrenching at the same time. I’m sure you’ve heard of the term compassion fatigue and secondary trauma. We felt it. You know usually compassion fatigue is over more of a longer time span. But within that two weeks I was there, it was almost as if we were taking in stress through a fire hose,” said Carrier.

He says he’s grateful he was able to play such an important role during his time there – but says there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“There is some sense of gratification that comes from it. But even more I feel like I left Uvalde worrying more about the people that we didn’t help, couldn’t help, or didn’t have time to,” said Carrier.

In the next few months Carrier will return to hold group sessions with the first responders in Uvalde.