SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Wounded Warrior Homes, a local organization that supports our veterans, is reminding the public that Fourth of July festivities can be triggering for some vets.
“For myself and a lot of other fellow Marine Corps veterans…random fireworks will always be a trigger. So much so for some guys…that they’ll fall on the ground,” said Luis Garcia.
Garcia joined the Marine Corps in 2009. He served two tours in Afghanistan and knows firsthand how the sound of sudden fireworks can affect those battling PTSD.
“It took me probably four or five years to be okay around them or being in a large group,” he said.
With San Diego being a military community, he hopes people here keep this in mind and avoid setting off illegal fireworks.
“Something to consider would just be…to respect that. If there are festivities, keep it there or take your fireworks somewhere else,” he said.
Garcia said when he returned from Afghanistan, he was briefly homeless. It was Wounded Warrior Homes that helped him get back on his feet.
“Since then, my life has improved drastically," he said. "I’m a graduate now; I’ve got a job. It’s gotten a lot better.”
ABC 10News spoke with Mia Roseberry, the Executive Director of Wounded Warrior Homes, ahead of the holiday.
“Supporting the veterans on the Fourth of July is a lot about letting them talk about what their struggles are,” she said.
Roseberry shared that Wounded Warrior Homes helps hundreds of vets every year, and they’re prepared to offer extra support for those who may need it as celebrations kick off.
“I’ve had veterans in the past that say I have to go to the mountains or the desert or where it’s quiet,” she said. “Just reach out and don’t struggle through it yourself. That’s the hard part to remember. No matter what they’re going through, there’s going to be someone to support them.”