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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - On the day the country pauses to salute Veterans, one veteran has gone back to college trying to make a difference. George Curtis has been in the military for 20 years. He served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is now a student at Johnson C. Smith University majoring in psychology. He was recently diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He noticed something was wrong when he started having nightmares.
"I could smell something," Curtis said. "And it would take me back to when I was in Iraq or I would hear something like a loud noise - it would send me back so I was getting to the point I couldn't operate on a daily basis."
Curtis did get help and is thankful for the support he received to cope with his sickness. He's taking one day at a time.
"God knows where I will be if I didn't have my wife and my faith," Curtis said. "I don't know where I would be. It's hard."
Curtis already has a degree in computer engineering but was compelled to go back to school to get another degree - this time in psychology.
"The support system is there for me," the veteran said. "But there are many veterans out there who don't have that support system and I just feel for them, because they need this."
Curtis knows several veterans who are struggling and feel abandoned by their country.
"I served with some good guys," Curtis said. "The guys that I served with are my brothers, they will be my brothers forever. I will never forget them. The guys will tell me the story of the hard times they are having and getting back to adjust to civilian life and it hurts."
Studies show one out of six veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. Also that same study shows about 200,000 veterans are homeless each night.
"We fought and we were prepared to die for a cause greater than us," Curtis said. "And to come back and to not have that support system - it hurts me to see them guys who have mental conditions and no one is helping. And people ignore them, people just walk by them like they weren't even there. It's bad."
After Curtis graduates he wants to one day go on a special tour of duty to support veterans.
"I think it's better with someone who knows where you've been," the veteran said. "The same place and say hey guys - it's going to be ok. It's a work in progress and you are going to get there."
Curtis says the war will be won only when veterans are remembered and cared for everyday and not just highlight them on Veteran's day.
"I know there is a lot of people helping," Curtis said. But we need a lot more. It's a lot more that can be done."