Richmond Hill businesses open doors to veterans wanting to talk Afghanistan

ByAlyssa Jackson Published:Aug. 17, 2021 at 5:50 PM EDT

RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - The conversation about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is shifting to include how communities can come together to support those who served in the region over the last 20 years.

A business in Richmond Hill is opening its doors to veterans, some whom say they just don’t know how to feel right now.

Veteran and TOSA Coffee Company Owner Eric Rice, knows firsthand that what’s happening in Afghanistan can be a trigger for those who served. He said his doors are open for any veterans who need an outlet.

Rice served in the Army for 21 and a half years. His last deployment was in Afghanistan.

“Opening up to people that haven’t been there is a challenging thing cause you can’t have that open cordial conversation just to get it off your chest,” he said.

Veteran and Debellation Brewing Company Owner David Goodell said he and other veterans feel the pain of watching the 20 years U.S. soldiers served in Afghanistan ending this way.

“It brings up a lot of old memories from people who served there multiple times, in many cases, and it does open up old wounds,” Goodell said.

He served about 17 years in the Army and spent 15 months in Afghanistan.

“We took a lot of casualties in our battalion. A lot of soldiers died so every time that you see something going on in Afghanistan, whether it’s a soldier dying or bombing, something going on, it does make you think about the time you did serve over there,” Goodell said.

He said he’s learned to compartmentalize his feelings after serving three tours in Iraq but watching it all unfold can be triggering.

With these conversations happening, Rice said he’s just looking to be a resource.

“Hey, what can I do now because I’m not wearing a uniform anymore,” he said.

Veterans can also reach out to the VFW and organizations like Team Savannah for Veterans.

“For anybody that needs to talk, who doesn’t want to go down the mental health route, and just be here to listen, I’m here,” said Rice.

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