Local veterans react after troops killed in Afghanistan

MISHAWAKA, Ind. --- As the situation in Kabul continues to worsen many local veterans are reflecting on their past service. The news of 13 U.S troops being killed Thursday leaving some worried history might be repeating itself.

“I think the decision was good to get out of Afghanistan. I mean they gotta stand on their own two feet. I think why we didn’t get more out of there when we knew that the draw down was coming and everything like that is beyond me. One life is too many." said Kent Laudeman, Army Veteran and Director for Stop 22 Michiana.

Laudeman is a Vietnam veteran who says it’s about time the U.S. pulled troops out of Afghanistan. After learning that 13 U.S. Troops were killed in an attack outside Kabul airport Thursday - he says it immediately brought him flashbacks of his time abroad.

“You’re gonna have feelings of anxiety and frustration, tension, depression, some grief certainly if you lost somebody over there, but there is help," said Laudeman.

Laudeman is the director for Stop 22 Michiana - a lifeline for veterans to reach out for help when dealing with PTSD. Recognizing the need that many local vets might also be dealing with traumatic flashbacks after seeing the events unfold in Afghanistan - he decided to partner with Homes for Heroes agent Jim Mckinnies to help raise funds for veterans who may be in need of mental health services.

“Mental health is very important and this can really be very hard for a lot of veterans to see what’s happening on the news. What’s happening in Afghanistan because we know people that have given their ultimate sacrifice," said Mckinnies.

The local non-profit is collecting donations of ten dollars or more in exchange for a gift bag that’s filled with a green light bulb to shine on your front porch - in honor of an Afghanistan war veteran who never made it home.

“We just want everyone to know that there’s hope and appreciation and honor in our community. And I know that the underlining sentiment within the community is we do appreciate the veterans. We want to give the community something well this is something that you can do," said Mckinnies.

Gift bags are available for pickup at Homes for Heroes on North Main Street and you can also make a donation online here.

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