BALTIMORE — Joe Reagan did two tours in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army Infantry Officer.
“The things that we are seeing on tv is a lot of places that we’ve been,” Reagan said. “In fact just the other day I was watching a newscast and saw one of the bases that my troops were responsible for standing up that was the scene of a suicide bomber that sounded pretty much my entire platoon. Seeing these things on television is bringing back a lot of those negative memories.”
Reagan is now the Director of Military and Veteran Outreach for Wreaths Across America.
He’s tremendously proud of what the men and women he served alongside were able to accomplish and looking at the scenes this week, he said he is still proud.
“Very few people understand I think the burden that our service members carry and that our Gold Star families continue to carry from that loss,” Reagan said. “Getting out there and telling and sharing these stories of what our service members have done and continue to do, I can’t think of something more important.”
He adds, while our eyes are on the Middle East -it’s important to focus our hearts at home.
Aaron Jacoby is the VA Maryland Health Care System Director of the Mental Health Clinical Center.
He’s seen an uptick in people coming into the center and calling the crisis line.
“They are expressing concerns that they feel powerless,” Jacoby said. “They feel helpless, they want to do more but recognize they really don’t have much control right now. That left people to feeling very depressed and they can withdraw and isolate from others.”
No one needs to do this on their own.
They should enroll into the VA— and talk to loved ones or friends they served with.
“Never lose site of the wonderful contributions that they made while they were overseas and some of the good things they were able to do overseas,” Jacoby said. “It’s easy to forget those things when you’re thinking of what’s going on right now.”
They have a mental health triage clinic that meets weekdays from 8 to 3 p.m. where you can talk to a mental health professional without an appointment.
And you can always call the veteran crisis line at 1-800-273-8255.