Nacogdoches veteran organization to host PTSD event

Nacogdoches veteran organization to host PTSD event
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Roughly 22 veterans commit suicide each day, which is why the organization Building Bridges is hosting an event to bring awareness to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"We have veterans taking their own life, which is unacceptable," said Building Bridges founder Joshua Anding. "We're talking about the brave men and women who decided to sacrifice their lives and their time for our great nation, just to come home and lose their live to a battle that no one else can see."

PTSD has been called a silent killer and the invisible wound.

"It's depression, anxiety, things like that,"  said veteran Robert Havard. "I still have nightmares."

"I really had a hard time sleeping at night, to the point where I slept outside because I couldn't sleep inside," said veteran Jeff Smith. "It was just a fear of being asleep and missing something."

After coming home, Havard said he struggled with his emotions. Havard said he always associated things with anger.

"You always feel threatened, and it's something that I've learned to cope with," Havard said. "I'm learning to dealing with it. When you get out and come home, you don't have that brotherhood anymore; you don't have that friendship there. Even though you're around friends and family, it's a completely different scenario."

Those feelings are common among veterans suffering with PTSD, which is why Anding and his wife created the organization Building Bridges.

"Building Bridges is designed to bridge the gap between the generations of veterans as well as the community and those outreach organizations that no one knows exist to end veteran suicide," Anding said.

On Saturday, the newly founded organization will host an event to bring East Texas veterans and their families together.

"To feel like hey, you're just like me, you're here with me," Anding said. "Now that I know you're here, I don't feel so alone."

"If the civilian world doesn't understand, even if I wasn't in your foxhole, I've been in a foxhole, and there's at least some symbolization of brotherhood and sisterhood that's still there," Smith said.

The PTSD awareness event is on October 22 at Grace Dunn Richardson Park in Lufkin from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event is free to the public and will feature activities for the entire family.

Copyright 2016 KTRE. All rights reserved.