Military PTSD affects hundreds of men and women in the Tri-State.
Explosions from fireworks can trigger flashbacks for combat veterans which is why one Evansville family is making it their mission to educate the public especially this time of year.
Shawn Gourley Passes out PTSD awareness signs for Veterans. She said, "The worst part about it, here we're supposed to be these hardened soldiers that can handle all of this, and then you have a reaction like that."
Gourley is using her family's own experience of PTSD to help other families who have soldiers come home with the disorder. Gourley said, "It's not the fourth of July fireworks. Veterans seem to do ok with the big shows. A lot of them go to the big shows and they're fine with it. It's the unexpected fireworks, you know on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd when you're not expecting the fireworks."
Gourley and her husband started an organization called Military with PTSD. One of their biggest accomplishments is passing out the signs to vets in the Tri-State and across the country asking the public to be courteous of Vets with PTSD.
"If you see a sign in their yard, knock on their door and say, 'Hey we're going to be setting off fireworks from this time to this time," said Gourley.
The organizations purpose isn't to take away the meaning of independence day, it's to bring awareness to the effects surprise sounds can have on someone suffering with PTSD. Gourley said, "We don't want to stop anyone from celebrating the fourth of July, because it represents our independence, and that's what the fireworks are about and we don't want to stop that."