Midlands Veterans Fight Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

7:37 PM, Apr 11, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a serious mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event.

Research indicates that that up to 20 percent of the 1.6 million veterans who have served since September 11, 2001 suffer from PTSD.

Here in the Midlands, the South Carolina Combat Veterans Group is working to help those who are living with PTSD, including many of its members.

"We leave home as young men, we are broken down and we are built back up to be killers and not to be raised like that, it tends be with us after we get out of the military," said Vietnam veteran Bobby Banks.

Banks also suffers from PTSD and says he still lives with the internal scares of war.

Banks said, "You never really get over it, you try to deal with it because it is something that will be with you until the end of time.

"After all these years of being out of the military, I still wake up at night sweating, shaking and scared, jumping and looking around," according to Banks.

Now combat veterans like Banks have a new headquarters off of Decker Boulevard, a place they can get together to be with others who have seen the same horrors of war and help new veterans get back to civilian life.

"This group gives us the ability, the opportunity to to be with other veterans that have experienced the same thing and then we can help other veterans that come behinds us," said Tommy Olds, the commander of the group.

Olds saw his first combat action at 19-years old in Vietnam, even now decades later he still understands what many current veterans and their families are going through.

"It has a way of passing down to your wife, your children, they get exposed to it and they have a lack of understanding as to what is going on and so they need the opportunity to get the healing, education, and information to help them," said Olds.

Now with the new headquarters in place, the group hopes to be a beacon of hope after battle.

Olds said, "We have been there and done that, made it through and you can too, we are here for you, we are here for them, we are their brothers, their big brothers and we are the brothers keeper."

The South Carolina Combat Veterans Group started with about 400 members who were suffering with PTSD at the Dorn VA Hospital.

Now, the group has grown to over 1700 members with chapters in Orangeburg, Sumter, Eastover, and Georgetown.

For more information on the group visit their website at http://www.southcarolinacombatveterangroup.org/.

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