Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Southeastern Massachusetts Veteran of the Year Helping Veterans Recover

New Bedford veteran overcame his troubles and now helps other veterans

Sun Coast Today
Curt Brown
October 23, 2018

Azevedo was deployed to Desert Storm with the U.S. Navy from 1988 to 1991 and was with the Naval Reserve until 1993 and received an honorable discharge in 1994. He worked as a corrections officer and then became a member of the New Bedford Fire Department, after leaving the Navy.

But then 9/11 happened and Azevedo had a change of heart after the terrorist attacks. He remembers hearing the sound of fighter jets over his deck flying from Cape Cod hours after the attacks, he said.
NEW BEDFORD — A New Bedford veteran, who is devoting his life to helping others after suffering a combat-related brain injury in Iraq, is this year’s Southeastern Massachusetts Veteran of the Year.

Christopher E. Azevedo, 48, who also recently retired from the New Bedford Fire Department, was unanimously selected by the Board of Directors of the Veterans Transition House for the honor, according to Wayne Carvalho, chairman of the board. “We all feel he epitomizes what struggle is for veterans and the ability to give back,” Carvalho said.

Azevedo will receive the award at a luncheon at Rachel’s Lakeside, 950 State Road, Dartmouth, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 8.

He said he does not help others for the recognition and was floored when he received a phone call from board member Linda Silveira, informing him he was selected as this year’s Veteran of the Year. He was nominated last year, did not receive it and never thought he would be nominated again, let alone receive it.
During his deployment, he survived numerous attacks, but in one direct hit to his vehicle from an IED, he suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as damage to his spine and chest, he said.

Azevedo suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from his service, which he still battles today, and was overprescribed meds and became addicted to painkillers, he said. He won that battle, too, and has been free of painkillers for five years now and alcohol-free for three years.
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