On the second floor of a Veterans hospital in Columbia, Mo., one can hear the music of guitars. The instructor Tom Williams, gathers every week at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans hospital for 10 weeks. And at the end of this time each vet gets a free guitar and accessories.
This is a program that was started by “Guitars for Vets,” a National organization offering free guitar instruction classes for disabled veterans.
Vietnam Veteran Dan Van Buskirk, and a guitarist Patrick Nettesheim, started the program in Milwaukee Wisconsin in 2007.
This program has helped veterans with PTSD, TBI’s and other disabilities….many seen and unseen by the naked eye. Most of the lessons are primarily taught in clinics, community-based outpatient clinics and at VA Hospitals.
Many guitarist have stepped to the plate to volunteer their services in instructing classes to the disabled vets.
So far about 2,500 vets are reported to have graduated as of March 2017. This means that about 2,500 acoustic guitars have been given to veterans. And usually accompanied with accessories. These are all donated.
In the March 2017 issue (digital version at www.vfwmagazine.org):
We learn about Alice MacNaughton who had served first in the Army and later in the Air Force during the years 1975-1997. She was a patient in the VA, after suffering a brain injury while serving in the Armed Forces. Alice MacNaughton states that “I really feel like that learning to play helps re-train my brain.”
In this wonderful story put out by the VFW magazine, we learn that she was the first woman to complete the “Guitars for Vets” class in Columbia, Mo.
In July 2014, a custom made “ASHLEE” guitar was donated to the “Guitars for Vets,” for resale during the Nashville National Association of Music Merchants show. The guitar sold for $1,000, which now enables the “Guitars for Vets,” to sponsor five veterans in the Guitars for Vets program.
This month (March 2017) is WOMEN’s HISTORY MONTH!