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Software company Paradigm honors first responders for lifesaving efforts during shooting

PARADIGM GLASS BOX SHADOW BOX.jpg

MIDDLETON, Wis. - A Middleton software company is thanking first responders for saving the lives of several of its employees six months after they were injured in a shooting.

The heads of Paradigm, formerly known as WTS Paradigm, said during a news conference Friday that all four of the employees who were shot are now back at work full time.

Law enforcement officers shot down the gunman at the office building on Sept. 19 after he opened fire on his coworkers.

The company's senior manager of human resources, Aubree Martin, said some employees have chosen not to return to the company, and others are still largely impacted by the shooting.

"We have had employees that have struggled with coming into the building," Martin said. "We have made changes to the building itself -- both physically to make sure that it looks different, as well as allowing employees to re-enter in their own time frame."

During a ceremony Friday, Paradigm honored the 350 law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS workers and medical personnel who responded to the scene of the shooting.

All 350 first responders were invited, and about 200 attended. Media were not invited to attend the ceremony.

Paradigm CEO Nathan Herbst said each responder was presented with a small shadow box filled with shards of glass from the Paradigm building.

"When we went through the building, there was just glass everywhere. So we knew we needed to say thank you, and it just started with an idea. It started with an idea of saying somehow this glass has to be useful," Herbst said.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney and Middleton police Chief Chuck Foulke told reporters officers would cherish the gifts.

"Things like this don't happen in our profession, and to get that recognition and that acknowledgment is something I will never forget," Foulke said.

"That box represents one day in the life of our community, and it makes me so proud to be a member of the Dane County community, the Middleton community," Mahoney said. "It's that personal connection with those whose lives were changed on that day at that moment."

Paradigm employees have been working out of a temporary space while their building undergoes renovations. Herbst said they plan to move back into the original building by the end of March.

The company rebranded in November, changing its name to Paradigm, but the company's executives said the name change was unrelated to the shooting.

Martin said since the shooting, Paradigm has ramped up its mental health efforts for employees. That includes two therapists who come into the office on regular basis, as well as meditation and group trauma sessions.

"Right now, we are in a place where most of our employees are back in full-time capacity, functioning as best they can given (that) we're only six months out from a pretty traumatic incident," Martin said.

She said they have also invited speakers to the office who highlight different aspects of trauma, such as talking to children about trauma, physical responses to trauma and secondary trauma. Employees who were not in the building the day of the shooting are still experiencing trauma, she added.

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