WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – West Springfield celebrated those who’ve served our country with a parade and ceremony.
The parade made its way down Kings Highway and Elm Street before ending at Town Hall. The West Springfield High School and Middle School bands played as people gathered to watch and wave American flags. Then a ceremony was held to honor veterans.
Dan Maldonado was named Veteran of the Year. He joined the Marines when he was 17 years old, and did three tours of duty. He told 22News there is a stigma against PTSD in the veteran community and is urging people to reach out to family members who might be suffering.
“If there’s anything in your family that happens like that, or someone you know, just know that it’s perfectly normal. There’s groups out there, myself included. I’ll answer the phone for anybody that calls me going through it. We have to take care of each other because that’s all we got really.” Dan Maldonado, West Springfield Veteran of the Year
According to the organization Stop Soldier Suicide, Veterans are at 50 percent higher risk of suicide than their peers who have not served.
All VA Medical Centers offer PTSD treatment, even if there is no specific PTSD program. Contact your local VA Medical Center and ask for the Mental Health clinic. Many Vet Centers and VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics also offer PTSD treatment.
If you need immediate assistance, call 911 or 1–800–273–TALK/8255, press 1.
- VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System
- Molly Donovan: (413) 584-4040 X 2677/2670, Specialized Inpatient PTSD Unit (SIPU) Inpatient