Marine veteran holds concert to raise money, awareness for those with PTSD

WALTON, Ky. -- Marine veteran John Preston said he used to rely on alcohol to curb his symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Back then I was battling with something I didn't even know I had. I was dealing with post traumatic stress. I was drinking to blackout,” Preston said.

But that all changed when his older brother, who was also a Marine veteran, took his own life.

Preston said that was the moment he knew he couldn’t keep quiet.

"It shot a spark in me,” Preston said. “I was already doing it, and it altered and changed everything it was to make this as loud as possible. There's no stage, but the top of the world."

Preston now battles PTSD through his music, and he shared his songs with the community Saturday at Oakcreek Pavilion’s Family Fest.

The concert not only raised awareness; it also raised money for 22 Until Valhalla and the Barracks Project, two non-profits that help military men and women with PTSD along with their families.

"My goal is to say, dude, look around. Look around. There's so many people that depend on you and love you,” Preston said.

Felicia Huesman, president of the Barracks Project, said the success of the concert won’t necessarily be determined by the amount of money raised.

“Even if we help one veteran tonight just by talking to them, how do you put a price tag on that,” Huesman said.

Preston is hopeful his songs will carry a message to veterans in need.

"It's what we do,” Preston said. “Okay, yes. I'm a combat veteran. It's not what I did back then that defines me. It's what I do moving forward."

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