General News
6:00 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Veterans Group Warns Of Unexpected Fireworks Effect On Those With PTSD

This photo has helped the campaign get its message out about how unexpected explosions may affect veterans.
Credit courtesy photo

Well in advance of Independence Day, fireworks were going off in many Indiana neighborhoods. And that can pose a big problem for some military veterans.

Now there's a campaign that’s trying to change that  with photos, signs, and a little help from the internet.

The post has gained over a million “Likes” this week on Facebook: a man with a yard sign that reads “Combat Veteran Lives Here -- Please Be Courteous with Fireworks.”

The group that posted the now-viral story is Evansville-based Military with PTSD, a small veteran and family support group. The man in the photo is one of the group’s members who made the sign himself.

The co-founder and executive director of Military with PTSD is Shawn Gorley. Her husband is a veteran who lives with the disorder, and last summer he was forced to leave his home to escape the random pops of holiday fireworks.

Gorley realized that a lot of vets were experiencing the same issue, and that it was the unexpected timing of the fireworks, rather than the sounds themselves, that triggered problems.

“We don’t want anyone to stop anyone from setting off fireworks. The vets will be the first to tell you, they are not into taking anyone’s rights away, and they know all too well what the Fourth of July means," Gorley says. "But what they are asking is, besides just the vets, there are mothers who sleep, there are people who work different shifts in these neighborhoods.”

Gorley says she’s already received offers for donations to help her organization print and distribute signs for next year, so they can be given out free to vets all over the country.