BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – For those dealing the with the emotional aftermath of a horrific experience, there is new help in Suffolk County.
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Marie LaPersonerie from Copiague misses her son Sean terribly.
“He was a really good kid,” she told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.
He was struck and killed while he crossed East Main Street in Babylon on New Year’s Eve. He was only 24-years-old and trying to get his life on track after a tour with the U.S. Army in Iraq, where he saw a friend get killed. He did not want to talk about it.
When he returned home, something was wrong.
“I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to handle it. You know, it was just a really tough situation. Sean was suffering. We were all suffering,” she said.
Sean was depressed and despondent.
“Very anxious, very emotional. One minute, falling on the floor crying. The next minute, raging,” she said. “He was self-medicating. Really just couldn’t get it together.”
She felt helpless and knew little about post traumatic stress disorder.
“We didn’t know what to do, you know, and I was scared. I was scared for him. I was scared for me,” she said. “He had violent outbursts.”READ MORE: Harlem Man Arrested After Allegedly Punching Woman, Striking 5-Year-Old Child
Sean sought help from the Veterans Administration, but was killed before he received therapy.
“He, innocently, on New Year’s Eve, was crossing the street in North Babylon, coming out of a restaurant at 9:30 at night and was hit by a car,” she said.
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“When a mom sees a child suffering and she can’t do anything and wasn’t really sure what was happening to him, it’s very painful,” family friend Lauren Van Kirk said. “Many times, when I talked to Marie, when I walked away, I wanted to do something.”
She approached Babylon town officials about running P.T.S.D. workshops at the Spangle Drive Senior Center, where she is the director.
The program is called Sean’s Hope. It’s held for for ten weeks on Wednesday nights at the center.
Babylon Town Councilman Tom Donnelly was on board.
“It’s a forum for families to kind of come together and discuss their experiences,” Donnelly said. “When people are dealt a very sudden and tragic loss, whether through a car accident or some type of other event and they’re suffering, at least the town now is giving those folks a resource.”
“Our goal is to educate, you know, talk about what P.T.S.D. is, and coping mechanisms… symptoms, recommendations, and to learn how [to help] the families and friends to take care of themselves, to protect themselves,” LaPersonerie said. “I just want a difference in another family that might be going through the same thing that I went through.”MORE NEWS: New York Judge Suspends Father's Visitation Rights With Daughter Unless He Gets COVID Vaccine Or Subjects To Weekly Testing
You can contact the Spangle Drive Senior Center at 631-422-7610. It’s located at 438 Spangle Drive, North Babylon, NY 11703.