More than a year and a half after the Pulse massacre, first responders still struggle with the trauma 

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Delgado was put on light desk duty until last month, when he says Eatonville Police Deputy Joseph Jenkins told him he was being let go as an officer because of his "emotional disturbed state and PTSD." They didn't have a civilian position they could offer him. Delgado couldn't believe he was being fired after everything that happened at Pulse and thinks he would still be employed if he hadn't told the department about his condition. His last day was Dec. 31.

"That's the last thing I would have ever thought would have happened to me, getting terminated because I did my job," he says. "What aggravates me is they didn't even give me a chance to try to get better."

The Eatonville Town Council voted unanimously in December to pay Delgado half of his accrued sick time – 65 hours – after he had worked with the department for nine and a half years. Initially, Eatonville officials wouldn't talk about why Delgado was let go, citing privacy laws. Delgado maintained he was terminated because his doctor determined his PTSD, depression and anxiety made him unfit for patrol duty. He was about six months short of his 10-year employment anniversary, when his pension would have been vested.

In a later appearance, city officials announced Delgado would receive 42 percent of his $38,500 salary with benefits for life. But Delgado says that decision is actually up to the pension board, which still hasn't decided whether he'll receive 42 percent of his salary on a disability pension or just 22 percent of his salary on a retirement pension (which he can start collecting at 55).

Jenkins later told media outlets Delgado was let go after an October internal investigation found Delgado told a woman he pulled over that he was "emotionally disturbed" and displayed an "arrogant lack of respect." The woman said Delgado had pulled her hair, according to Jenkins but he added that the state attorney's office determined that was incidental to her arrest because she was actively resisting. After publication, Delgado clarified that he had not pulled the woman's hair, but that his partner had. Delgado also provided a letter from the Orange County Sheriff's Office Professional Standards Section corroborating his statement. The Orange County Sheriff's Office found no criminal acts in their probe, but Jenkins said an Eatonville administrative review found he had violated policy, though he wasn't punished.

"We didn't fire him because he had PTSD," Jenkins says. "When you have a badge and a gun, and the ability to make life-changing decisions, we need an officer to be 100 percent."

Jenkins says Eatonville doesn't have anything in place to deal with PTSD except EAP and health insurance polices – like many other police departments. The department "did everything they could" to get Delgado counseling, he says.

"We went above and beyond to make sure he was OK," Jenkins says. "We embrace Officer Delgado from that day to this one."

Now, Delgado tries to recover by doing activities that take his mind off Pulse – like photography and working with his kids on their YouTube channel. As of last week, he has two more checks coming in but after that, he doesn't know what he'll do. He may have to find a job that lets him work from home or file for unemployment.

"How do we survive until then?" Delgado muses, stepping away from a refrigerator covered with photos of his wife and kids. "That's the million-dollar question."

The night of June 12, Orlando Fire District Chief Bryan Davis had to watch his firefighters and paramedics make one of the most difficult decisions of their life, over and over: red tag or black tag?

People shot inside Pulse were carried by police and other clubgoers to the triage center outside Einstein Bros. Bagels. Victims who got a red tag could be saved and were rushed to the closest hospital. Victims who got a black tag were already dead.

"We do training on this every year, and in a mass casualty event, you're told not to focus your efforts on those already deceased," says Davis, who was the commander on scene that night. "Psychologically, it has to be tough to put a black tag knowing you can't do a thing for that victim. You lose sleep at night thinking, 'Did I do the right thing? Did I make the right call?'"

Davis says he stayed focused on ensuring the 82 OFD personnel who responded to Pulse got the support they needed to move past the event. Davis estimates that almost 50 firefighters and paramedics from OFD have taken part in the UCF Restores program. It wasn't until a year later that Lt. Jeff Orrange, who leads the local peer-support team for firefighters, told Davis it was finally time to focus on his own mental health.

"He finally looked at me, and said, 'We've done a great job with your guys. Now it's your turn,'" Davis says. "In our careers, we've experienced other tragedies, so when Pulse happened, it caused that cup of emotion to start overflowing. It wasn't until I was able to connect the dots that it became evident that it was time for me to move forward and process what had happened, too."

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