Danny served in the U.S. Air Force from 1969 to 1981. He served three tours in Vietnam, treating wounded soldiers as a Rescue Medic. For his own peace of mind and to avoid his parents worrying about him, Danny kept his location a secret by having friends mail letters home from other places. He didn’t come clean until 15 years later when he could no longer suppress the memories and emotions.
Vietnam took a toll on Danny both physically and mentally. He not only suffers from tremors, but also severe PTSD. Explaining how it impacts his daily life, Danny says:
“Sporadic stress; little things can set you off. I still cringe every time I hear a helicopter going over and I still cringe every time I hear a siren coming. Fireworks used to be such a pleasure when I was a child, but I don’t enjoy them anymore because it has that percussion sound that I don’t think ever leaves your ears.”
However, thanks to Sophie’s Companions for Veterans, his life has recently changed. Danny received Duke; a rescue dog that will be trained for service to assist with his disabilities. The bond between them was instantaneous. For the last five years, Danny has been unable to have a good night’s sleep but slept completely uninterrupted the first night with Duke. Danny’s wife, Judy, has also benefited from Duke. She suffers from anxiety after recently recovering from a long battle with cancer. She feels much calmer now. Danny says their future is bright with Duke there to help them heal.
To any soldiers who might be suffering from depression or PTSD, Danny would like to send the following message:
“What you go through is a balancing act. I was pretty good for a lot of years of just pushing it all back and not letting it affect me, but it somehow manifested itself back up to the surface. Getting into the American Legion and helping other veterans, seeing their difficulties and seeing so many suicides, it made me open up and seek help. I wish more veterans would do that. For any veteran –no matter what state, county, or wherever you live– there’s a place to reach out called Veterans’ Services. These people are sent from God because they bend over backwards to let you know what’s available to you. They’ll let you know what compensations are available to you. They fight for you.”
Sophie’s Companions for Veterans will receive this month’s donation on Danny’s behalf.