Kentucky town feels long-range trauma from tornado

Mr Holt was proud of his fitness, but he lost 20 pounds in hospital and is feeling out of shape. He is even more concerned about his men...


Mr Holt was proud of his fitness, but he lost 20 pounds in hospital and is feeling out of shape. He is even more concerned about his mental health. “A capable mind,” he said, “is 10 times better than a capable body.”

Mr. Holt knows the symptoms of post-traumatic stress. He was once haunted by them. He served in the military, deploying to Afghanistan as a door gunner on a Chinook helicopter. When he returned, his family and friends told him he looked different. He felt it too.

“I can’t say it went to drugs, I can’t say it went to gambling or women,” Mr Holt said of his seemingly disappearing monthly income. “It was like I was walking on a cloud for a whole year. Just giving people money, trying to help people, but I wasn’t helping myself.

He said he was sure of one thing: “I won’t see that again.” He knows that’s easier said than done.

Before starting at the candle factory about three months ago, Mr. Holt worked with young people, coaching them in sports and taking them on college tours. “I was broke but I was happy,” he said. The factory job paid only $15 an hour, but he could work nights, leaving his days free – in theory at least – for training.

In a way, he’s still a coach. He is often on the phone with his colleagues at the candle factory, trying to help them deal with the trauma. “Instead of sugarcoating,” he said, “I just let them know there are going to be bad days.”

There is a certain comfort in being close to other people who have shared this experience. But they can only offer a modicum of comfort, as the conversations eventually turn into an echo chamber of their collective angst. “It makes me feel good at the moment,” he said. It was a fleeting comfort.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Kentucky town feels long-range trauma from tornado
Kentucky town feels long-range trauma from tornado
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