Las Vegas' Wounded Warrior Project Helps New Vets - 8 News NOW

Melissa Duran, Reporter

Las Vegas' Wounded Warrior Project Helps New Vets

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Corporal Reuben D'Silva with friends. Corporal Reuben D'Silva with friends.
Corporal Reuben D'Silva Corporal Reuben D'Silva

Local veterans are being honored throughout the valley Monday for risking their lives for our freedom. But instead of enjoying the day for themselves, some older veterans are doing their part to make sure a new generation of vets are getting the help they deserve.

Coming back home from a conflict overseas is not an easy process. More troops are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and having a hard time re-adjusting to everyday life.

But on Monday at the Leatherneck Club, some older veterans launched Las Vegas' Wounded Warrior Project, which takes special care of troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Vietnam and World War II veterans say one of the hardest things they faced after coming home from conflict was not having help getting back into the civilian world. Post traumatic stress disorder was not yet diagnosed and many troops paid the consequences.

But now some local veterans want to make sure that doesn't happen to our younger troops. Through the Wounded Warrior Project, troops severely wounded are provided with services and programs to ease their burdens -- such as family assistance and counseling.

Older vets say this program is a way to show these troops their sacrifices are remembered.

"The kids that are maimed and lose limbs. That's the battle for the rest of their lives, and everyday when they get up in the morning, that's a reminder. We are helping them assimilate into life after conflict," said William Stojack, a veteran.

Stojack says just knowing there is support is a morale booster for these young troops.

He says while it's important to have the support of the entire community, veterans have to take care of other veterans.

It was never a matter of if Corporal Reuben D'Silva would go to Iraq, but when. And after three years in the reserves, his time had come.

"Man this is for real. We're going to the war zone -- that's actual combat zone. People die out there. People get hurt," said D'Silva.

D'Silva never thought he would be one of them. But in early June, while he was acting as the gunner on top of his vehicle, he found himself in the middle of an attack.

A bullet from an AK-47 went through his left arm, changing his life forever.

"I can almost bend my arm. I'm just trying to get along with my life," said D'Silva.

But it's not an easy process. Doctors say D'Silva will never have full use of his arm, limiting what jobs he can do. The mental aspect is another challenge. Though he doesn't suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, adjusting to civilian life is hard.

"You have this feeling like you are still in the combat zone and if you are driving down the road, you tend to look at the side and wonder if there is a roadside bomb," he said.

But he considers himself one of the lucky ones. "I know some fellow marines who have severe PTSD and they don't even feel safe in the states. They need to have weapons on them. They have flashback, dreams, can't sleep at night."

D'Silva says his family and faith in God has pulled him through. He knows other troops are not so fortunate. But even though his physical scars will never go away, his mental well-being is strong -- never regretting fighting for our country.

"I am proud of serving my country. It's the greatest country that has ever existed."

Email your comments to Reporter Melissa Duran.
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