WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – For service members, Monday’s standoff in West Springfield was a sobering reminder of those who suffer in silence.
Veteran John Feudo said, “We lie to our families so they don’t get scared. Come home, they think you’re okay, but you’re really not. And you hide, you fade away, you just try to stay in the shadows.”
Disabled American Veterans Commander Arthur Geary knows Robert Decoteau III, who was arrested on Monday after a pipe bomb incident in West Springfield. The two attended the West Springfield Counseling Center.
“I was kind of shocked,” said Geary. “You’re sitting out there waiting for your turn, and everybody chats, and everybody is friendly. No indication that there was a problem.”
Veterans’ Services in West Springfield said post-traumatic stress disorder is different for each person, often set off by combat trauma. There are signs a person may be suffering.
Director of Veterans’ Services Chris Lizotte told 22News, “Generally it’s high anxiety. Some severe cases they’ll experience flashbacks or reliving that moment in a very vivid sense. So it’s still maintaining contact with them after the fact to make sure that they are getting the help that they need.”
Lizotte said it’s important not to stigmatize people suffering from PTSD. They should not be viewed as dangerous or broken individuals.