MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - This is the time of year when the sky is lit with fireworks almost every night. But for some veterans, the sounds of celebration bring back painful memories of their time of combat.
42 years, that's how long a veteran in our area has been suffering with post traumatic stress disorder.
And as the years pass, the reenactment of the battle field stays clear in his mind.
Willen DeJong fought missions that were too top secret to even expose years later. But the vision in his mind speak louder than words ever could.
"I find myself looking over my shoulder a lot. Loud noises scare me and I know at first one time I heard a siren go off and I actually took the car, ran off the side of the road and crawled out of it," explains Willem DiJong. "It's something you wish would go away."
He tell's me that bangs and explosions from fireworks send him searching for a quite place or ducking for cover.
"The louder explosions from little fire crackers or m80's of cherry bombs, they get personal," says DeJong.
But there is help out there. The American Legion Post 178 in Murrells Inlet is the largest in South Carolina with a total of 26-hundred members and they open their doors to anyone who is suffering – even none members.
"If they need help, please come we'll get you help. Anyone that needs help, We have places in Conway, we have places all over the place and we can get you help," says Commander of Post 178 Donald Brown.
Besides post 178 in Murrell's Inlet, other American legion locations in Conway at the Conway Golf Club and another in Little River off US 17.
But there are ways you can directly help these veterans. If you are going to set off fireworks, get to know the area where you are setting them off. Ask your neighbors if there are any vets in your community suffering from this disorder. Try to choose more areas where it isn't very populated. The bottom line is you never know who could be suffering from PTSD.
Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard