BRUNSWICK - Fireworks are typical this time of year.
But for some veterans, the celebration of the very freedom they fought for is stressful and can trigger PTSD.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jon Yovanno just wanted to take the dog for a walk Sunday night. He turned right back around when he heard the sounds of the season that haunt him.
He’d like you to consider his story.
Jon Yovanno served 2 back to back tours of duty in the Gulf War.
Fireworks for the 4th, to him sound like Bahrain outside his Brunswick home. "See a flash then hear the boom," he explains.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder grips him. "It's just like an anxiety attack. The fireworks, people shooting guns," says Yovanno.
The triggers come with no warning of that sinking feeling of…
"It’s war all over again. And it’s at 10 p.m, 11 p.m, midnight, 1 in the morning. It’s nonstop,” says Yovanno.
It’s actual headphones that block the sound of fireworks and play encouraging messages instead.
For Yovanno, Bella, his Wags For Warriors service dog helps calm the PTSD.
He even has what he calls a "therapy chicken" as well.
While we celebrate the freedom military men and women defend, this veteran will:
“Stay at home. Take cover. Stay away from the activities," says Yovanno.
In just 2 years, militarywithptsd.org is on track to give out 10 thousand signs with the message that a combat veteran lives here and to please be considerate with fireworks.
"I know a majority of people don't realize it that there are people like us out here," says Yovanno.
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