Manchester Vet Center just 'a great place'
Jessie Tustin of Manchester gets a hug from follow veteran Robert Baker of Exeter after Tustin spoke about her battle with post-traumatic stress disorder following her return from Afghanistan during the grand opening ceremony for the Veterans Center in Hooksett on Friday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Veterans, including Vietnam Veteran John Morrissey of Swanzey, were recognized during the grand opening ceremony for the Veteran's Center in Hooksett on Friday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Ahearn introduced several vets who shared the struggles they faced readjusting to civilian life and explained how the center can help.
"I was scared and I knew I needed help," said Tustin, who was exposed to environmental agents that cause nodules to appear all over her legs and left her unable to walk. She also suffered from nightmares and outbursts due to post traumatic stress.
"I no longer serve, but I still feel like a soldier," she said, adding that she hoped other soldiers who need help will take advantage of the type of support offered through the center.
Vietnam vet John Morrissey said when he came home he wasn't able to tell anyone how he felt.
"It's wasn't accepted," he said. "When I came home, I didn't realize how much trouble I was in and how dangerous my life had become."
"Those of us who have served know what PTSD is about," he said. "And our family members suffer along with us."
"PTSD is not something that never goes away but it does abate," he said.
U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, a member of the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs, beat the odds of bad weather and canceled plane flights and made it to Hooksett to help celebrate the center's opening.
"The problem has been that claims are getting so much more complicated, she said. "That's partly because we know more, and partly because we are willing to acknowledge metal health issues."
"There's no more important thing for Congress to do than honor those who have fought to protect our democracy and our safety," she said.
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