Christopher Yanker

Christopher Yanker poses Thursday outside his office at Buffalo Restoration.

Christopher Yanker knows that customers who call him are likely not having a good day.

Yanker, general manager for Buffalo Restoration, has cleaned up crime scenes for 20 years and said the work is 10% technical and 90% working with people in their homes. He sees the work he does as a way to start putting things back into place after a tragedy and supporting a victim’s family members.

“You can’t make the people come back, but you can start to help that healing process,” Yanker said.

However, showing up after a death or domestic violence incident isn’t what Yanker is focused on.

He said the company is an advocate for raising awareness around mental health issues and works with groups in the valley to “find healthy outlets before it could go down that road.”

The dream would be for mental health issues to go away, Yanker said, but, because that likely won’t happen, he focuses on how to reduce the issues. He said that could be done by creating awareness and support groups for people dealing with stress or depression, including people working with him.

After a cleanup, Yanker said, debriefings are tailored to employees who are encouraged to talk about how they’re feeling. He never asks anyone to do something they don’t want to and Yanker said the company continues to update its procedures on handling workplace stress.

“I think that’s really good for us to be able to have that communication … to be vulnerable and respectful of each other,” he said.

Yanker encourages people to reach out for help before that person’s family has to give his business a call. He thinks of it as a “put on your oxygen mask before helping others” situation.

“We rather help out on the front end than on the back end,” he said.

Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2630.

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