According to www.mayoclinic.org, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event–either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
In Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF), about 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans (or between 11-20%) who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year. This is a huge number, especially for Americans, who have been large numbers of citizens serving in the army. Unfortunately, some army veterans with symptoms of PTSD did not get the treatment they should have got. Fortunately, one young army veteran, William Jazwinski, knew exactly, that he needed to do something for his symptoms. He sure has witnessed many terrifying scenarios as a former Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Operator for the United States Army on his 15-month service in Iraq.
Despite having all the sleepless nights and the haunting moments, he was a proud Army veteran. He will never remove the flag on his truck dashboard even if it meant that he will be reminded of what happened back in Iraq. When William’s tour was finished, he proudly drove his truck with the cleanly folded United States flag still resting on his dashboard. He was so calm at the sight of the familiar road when he could finally say that he was home and safe. But something odd happened while he was driving.
One police officer instructed him to halt his truck. He was surprised for he was not speeding at all. That was when the heart-melting moment started to unfold. Their conversation went:
“Me: Good morning, Officer. Was I speeding?
Officer: Good morning, no not speeding. Just wanted to stop ya and say thank you for your service.
Me: Oooh the bumper sticker, nice. Your welcome, Sir. My pleasure.
Officer: Where did you serve?
Me: I went to Iraq. Did a 15 month [stint]. Out of Fort Benning.
Officer: Well, alright. My son went to Iraq. He didn’t make it home.”
William was taken aback by surprise. He was not expecting that. He surely was blessed to be back in his home country.
“Me: Man, I’m so sorry to hear that. I just finished a PTSD program.
Officer: I see you have a flag in the truck. The one we got for him? Well, it’s at the house. Can I ask a question?
Officer: Do you mind stepping out and receiving a hug? You remind me of my son. I pulled you over. I thought you were him. I still don’t believe it most days he’s gone.
With tears in both our eyes, I got out and hugged that man. I’m talking about for a minute or two crying. Down to our knees crying. I needed that. To all the family and friends of soldiers, fighting or done fighting, God bless you. Your peace and your hearts. It’s so hard without them, I know. This road is a tremendous one. Love to all.”
William hugged the grieving dad so genuinely. His encounter with the police officer regained his faith once more. And that no matter how difficult life may be, God is still so good!