NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) -
Lowcountry veterans suffering from conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse now have a new facility where they can seek help.
The Department of Veterans Affairs opened its Charleston Vet Center Wednesday morning in North Charleston.
"We're veterans helping veterans and we are therapists so they feel more comfortable and safe like those were the people in the combat zone," Emily Shannon said.
The facility, located at 3625 West Montague Ave., is one of only 4 in our state, and expands access to VA programs for PTSD, substance abuse, counseling for sexual trauma, general mental health and readjustment counseling for veterans and their families.
The services are designed to help veterans returning home from combat as well as veterans of other eras, and their family members as they transition into civilian life and learn to cope with hidden wounds of war.
"I know I can go in there and I can cry if I have to and they make sure you don't leave until you are ok so its really cool," veteran Robert Sheffield said.
Sheffield, who served in the Vietnam war, is one of thousands of local vets looking forward to taking advantage of the rehabilitation services offered at the new center. Upon returning from war, he says he lost everything...including hope.
"I lost a few good friend in my arms and I didn’t know how to deal so the marriage suffered drinking and drugs that was the way to deal with it," Sheffield said.
Army veteran Leroy Ganaway dealt with PTSD after returning from Vietnam, and says centers like this one saved his life.
"As long as we have a military and army and we go serve we need the vet center and what it has to offer for the vets has kept me alive and kept me sane and free," Ganaway said.