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Local Veteran With PTSD Prepares For Fourth Of July Fireworks

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) —  Fireworks are what most folks are looking forward to this Fourth of July, but some of our most patriotic neighbors dread them...

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) --  Fireworks are what most folks are looking forward to this Fourth of July, but some of our most patriotic neighbors dread them. Studies show that most veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are set off by the loud sounds.

The battlefield-like noises can trigger a melt down said Michael Nimmo, who served for a year in Iraq back in 2004 and has PTSD. "The fireworks resemble that gunfire, resembling those explosions," said Nimmo. "It takes you back to a place in combat where we lost friends."

Although the holiday celebrations are generally short, they can have a lasting impact on some.

"Flashbacks are pretty prevalent with our community and so it definitely causes a lot of sharp pains, a lot of chaos in their lives and a lot of frustration and anger," said Nimmo.

To stay calm, the former Marine grabs his iPod and favorite playlist. "I like to put in my headphones and listen to my music to drown out that noise and that chaos that it reminds me of."

For those planning to shoot off fireworks in their neighborhood, veterans do ask that you give them a heads up, that way they can prepare accordingly. "Forewarn them because it's those surprises that resemble an IED. You never knew an IED was coming until you were hit," said Nimmo.

If you know a veteran who may be suffering from a mental health crisis, they can call they Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.