Fireworks can spark unwanted memories for combat veterans - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Fireworks can spark unwanted memories for combat veterans

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Family, friends, food and of course fireworks. Those are just a few of the 4th of July fundamentals. And while the bright lights in the sky are a form of celebration, for some, the loud sounds can trigger unwanted memories.

"What happens is, when they hear loud noises, veteran's with PTSD, they correlate it with when they were overseas. For some it might be that they were shot at overseas, so fireworks are going to bring back that memory. Some it might be like, being blown up by an IED," said Adam Kohls, a Benefit Specialist at the Eau Claire County Veteran's Affair's Office. "I served for 8 years. I did a tour in Kuwait and a tour in Iraq. Certainly I understand it with my line of work here, being a veteran, being over there, I know what they're going through. I know how it affects them."

For years Clif Sorenson has been an advocate for fellow veterans. He said, "I served in two air force bases in the country of Vietnam. Some of my friends who came back, sometimes broken in body and in spirit. We do have to try to make sure that they're not exposed to this trauma. It's not necessary."

Recently, the "Explosions of Kindness" campaign has been spreading on social media. It's an effort by the Indiana non-profit, Military with PTSD. Signs that say “Combat veteran lives here, please be courteous with fireworks” are given free of charge to any verified veteran who wants one.

"It's good to see that this campaign was going . Like a lot of campaigns, just increase the awareness for veterans and their condition,"said Kohls.

So the next time you get out the lighter, be courteous and keep your neighbors in mind.

Kohls said, "My opinion is, don't stop. This is kind of the veteran's holiday. This is why we went to war. This is one of the biggest holidays for veterans so we enjoy it. But just be aware that it's not the same for everyone."

For more information about “Explosions of Kindness”, click here.

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