Veterans ask community to be mindful ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations

Local News

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – An important reminder for you as you’re ringing in the new year. Some veterans want you to be mindful of the loud sounds that come with celebrating holidays like New Year’s Eve.

Duane Kelley spends a lot of his time at the American Legion Post #3 in Greenville. It’s also the site of a war museum. He knows a lot about the history because he lived it.

“All the Vietnam vets that were coming home were getting spat at,” said First Vice Commander Duane Kelley.

He spent four years in the Marines.

“I tried to go back in when 9/11 happened. They said I was too old and wouldn’t take me,” Kelley said.

As you can imagine throughout those years, he met a lot of good people. But even though most of his friends are no longer on active duty, he says some are still facing a battle.

“I completely understand a lot of our combat veterans who have come back from being overseas, I feel for them. I would do anything I could to help them,” says Kelley.

And it’s nights like New Year’s Eve, with celebrations that can include loud noises like fireworks, that can be a trigger for people living with PTSD.

It’s something Nathan Brock has seen firsthand. He’s in the Army.

“It’s a rough topic because I got friends and people I work with. It’s hard on them because they can’t enjoy things their family can enjoy,” says Poor Paul’s Fireworks Manager Nathan Brock.

But he says there are quieter options out there.

As for Kelley, he says he understands the idea of shooting off fireworks to celebrate any occasion. But he encourages you to be mindful and respectful of the people whose fight continues far beyond the battlefield.

According to recent data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 20% of military member who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. Medical professionals say one thing that can help these veterans cope with loud noises is telling them about scheduled events that will have loud noises ahead of time, so they are prepared.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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