MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jason Probst described what it was like last year in January when he was driving a vehicle down a street and hit a road side bomb in Afghanistan.
“It was like driving and hitting a wall,” he said.
The cab filled with smoke. He hit his head, causing a brain injury. He now deals with the aftermath of war in many ways.
“Loud noises, and sudden noises startle me…and sleeping at night is different,” he said.
His mother, Deb Probst, remembers hearing news of the explosion and fearing the worst.
“So he had angels with him that day,” she said.
Probst has reached out for help at the VA but says there’s still a stigma associated with mental illnesses, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“You just have to get help. You can’t think of what other people will think about you,” he said. “You just have to think about yourself.”
Carl Ringberg served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He remembers seeing his best friend die.
“I took him to the helicopter, and he never came back,” Ringberg said.
Signs of PTSD started right away for Ringberg.
“Anger, like I didn’t know what to do with myself outside the military,” he said.
But Ringberg has a new companion, Jed, a Golden Retriever. He got paired with the dog through Helping Paws.
“He’s like my security blanket,” Ringberg said.
Jed will wake him up if he has a nightmare, and turn on lights for him.
He also has helped Ringberg heal wounds, and through loving the dog, Ringberg’s been able to be a better father to his five children.