Jacksonville Beach Marine Corps veteran opens up about how he overcame struggles with PTSD

Local veteran opens business to battle disorder

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — James Rivera runs a small cleanup business inside a storage unit on the south side.

It's called JMR Clean Out Services, LCC and Rivera opened it six years ago, clearing out old junk left behind in homes after someone vacates a property.

But his story doesn't start there Rivera served in the Marine Corps for four years.

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He was deployed in 2004 in Iraq where his Humvee hit an improvised explosive device.

"It was like a lightening bolt went off next to me, that's the only way I can describe that," Rivera said.

Rivera walked away with minor shrapnel injuries, but when he got back from the war, things changed.

Physically he was fine, but inside, he felt different.

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"That's when I really knew what I was going through, it didn't make sense in the beginning," he said.

The VA told him he was suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Soon after he moved from New Jersey to Houston, he found out about the Wounded Warrior Project in Jacksonville.

Program officials put him on a one-year program which enabled him to go back to school and gain the confidence he needed to start his own business.

"I want a veteran to see this and say, 'Look this guy struggled, he's a Marine, he can handle it, he can go through a hard time and recover and maybe I can, too,'" Rivera said.

According to the VA's National Center for PTSD nearly 20% of U.S. troops who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq suffer from the disorder.

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