Central Florida honors local veterans; raises PTSD awareness

By: Jeff Levkulich

Updated:

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Several ceremonies have taken place Friday to honor the country's veterans this weekend.

A ceremony was held in Seminole County to bring awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder and the veterans who live with it.

Organizers with the group Camaraderie Foundation placed 13,000 flags outside the Seminole County Justice Center to raise awareness about the 13,000 veterans who have PTSD but do not seek any type of assistance.

The hope is to encourage veterans to get the help they need, as well as their families.

"By bringing awareness of the situation, we hope that these veterans can contact the Camaraderie Foundation and any other organization so we can provide that assistance, that mental health assistance, through a local counselor," program coordinator Ruben Gonzalez said.

Officials said 80 percent of veterans who return from Afghanistan and Iraq are not seeking help for PTSD, which they have seen lead to homelessness, arrests and family issues such as divorce.

"Not every veteran with PTSD is living in a refrigerator box under the interstate. Some are very successful businessmen and businesswomen. By night they are depressed alcoholics who are suffering through the worst nightmares of their life," said Ed Burford, a 20-year veteran and veteran service officer for Seminole County. 

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