Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month: local Vietnam veteran shares his story

 

PADUCAH, KY — June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month. The United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs reports that more than eight million people suffer from PTSD.

These people are your neighbors, your friends, and family. They’re recovering veterans, civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters or other traumatic events.

Estevan Alvarado was deployed to Vietnam back in 1965 as a paratrooper. “Paratroopers have many missions, it’s basically to fight the enemy,” Alvarado said.

He says there are no words to describe what he felt when he first set foot on the war zone.

“I’m glad to get off that ship, and I’m glad that I’m where I’m supposed to be going, and I’m here to help these people, hopefully,” Alvarado said.

He spent nine months fighting and was struck by four bullets in one hour.

“I was hit in the stomach,” Alvarado said. “When I looked down, my ammunition pouches were on my side and I could see all the bullet holes that went through, but that’s what saved me. It stays with you.”

Alvarado tells me when he’s able to talk about what he went through, it helps him cope.

Dr. Gordon Williams is a Vietnam veteran and specializes in trauma therapy.

“Some people will tell me, ‘I feel like I’m losing control,'” Williams said.

He says some of his clients suffer more from PTSD as they get older and they notice what their triggers are.

“If one encounters a dramatic situation, it makes no difference what age one is, it will take a toll on ones nerves,” Williams said.

As for Alvarado, he’s still trying to recover. He will never forget his brothers. “I was not a hero, I was doing my job,” Alvarado said.

If you’re interested in taking a pledge to raise awareness on PTSD, click here.