Bellevue Army veteran reminds community to be courteous on July 4

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 5:51 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - It’s that time of year, fireworks season. The 4th of July is just days away, but a local U.S. Army veteran explains the day isn’t always fun for everyone.

“I’ve been out for like, 25 years now, but it’s still rough around the 4th of July.”

Linda Castillo lives in Bellevue and is a U.S. Army veteran who suffers from PTSD.

“I served in the Army Reserve from 1990 to ’96, so it was during the Desert Storm, Desert Shield War,” Castillo tells 6 News. “We were an MP unit, so we basically dealt with you know, prisoners and stuff, we were a POW camp.”

Every year when the 4th of July rolls around, Castillo’s PTSD increases.

“About a week before, week or two before, my anxiety kicks in and it lasts up to three or four days afterward because people are still shooting them off. It varies year to year.”

Castillo says she’s tried it all, noise-cancelling headphones, staying in her basement with the TV volume on high but nothing works. One thing that is helpful, though, is her deaf service dog, Ghost.

“With the 4th of July, he’s the best thing I have cause he can’t hear them,” Castillo explains. “He will lay on me, he’ll increase his heart rate and then slow it down to calm down mine.”

Castillo places flags in her yard showing that she’s a veteran, hoping it will make people think twice about shooting off fireworks. Or, at the very least, follow the local fireworks laws.

“My biggest thing is, you know, abide by the times. A lot of us vets with PTSD, we try to find somewhere to go to avoid the noise, leading up to the 4th you’re supposed to stop shooting at 10 o’clock. All I’m asking is please be considerate for us veterans and please stop shooting at 10 o’clock.”

Omaha’s city ordinance allows for fireworks July 2nd through 4th from noon to 11 p.m.

In Bellevue, fireworks are legal from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. between June 25th and July 3rd. On the 4th of July, they are legal until midnight.

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