July 3, 2013

Samuel Askins spent 545 days as an infantryman in the U.S. Army in Iraq, witnessing numerous firefights and suffering a concussion in an explosion that eventually ended with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It ruined my life,” Askins said, adding that he tried to kill himself with alcohol and drugs because of the panic attacks and despair that followed him back to the United States and resulted in his retirement from active duty.

Today, at 35, he helps other vets as director of Camp Hope in Houston, but even he is having a tough week anticipating the loud fanfare that comes hand in hand with Fourth of July.

“Even with my recovery, the fireworks will kill me this week. The [fireworks] stands are all open,” Askins said. “Just last week, I went fishing and I put the boat in the water when a cherry bomb exploded. I fell out of the boat.

“I will have to deal with this for the rest of my life,” he said… read the full story


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