Many of my peers, professors, and fellows in recovery know that I am in school to become an art therapist to help the veteran population. But, then, those that I have been sponsoring and supporting in and out of recovery have said they wished they had met me when in rehab as my insight’s and personality somehow make them sit up and listen, to really consider the possibility of a different way of living, and I just smile. I tell them, I’ll end up wherever God puts me. Then the following day, someone shares how their buddies would drag their butt to rehab, and as a veteran, that means a very thorough means of going to VA Rehab. OMG!!! That’s the solution: it’s the best of both worlds. There is a God!
So yeah… veterans and their families.
When vets ask me why, I tell them the truth of my family heritage. My older half-brother is a Navy veteran. My deceased maternal grandfather was a WWII Army veteran who drank himself to death (and poor diet). On my paternal side, several men served in WWII. One went MIA in 1943 in Italy and one served the full length of WWII only to die a few years later as a sheriff in a small town trying to stop a bank robbery. Plus, I learned that via my maternal side I am also a direct descendent of the Daughters of the American Revolution. So helping those in the aftermath of military service is in my blood.
This is where the art comes in. I’m sure you’ve seen or gotten stuff in the mail with the free address labels if you only donate a few bucks to support veterans (and many other charities like American Indian Youth). Then there are the ads that show up from someone you have as a Facebook buddy ‘liking’ an ad or something related to veterans. Or your local community center is doing a fundraiser. On and On it goes.
Some actual design t-shirts to raise funds to generate plaques honor the fallen heroes like Til Valhalla Project. I intend to get one for my maternal gramps someday. Some like the USO do yearly sponsored fundraisers by selling t-shirts. The VFW likes to send out coasters. One of my favorites, Disabled American Veterans, gift novelty socks and a reusable grocery bag.
All this type of art is a way to support those that are still in active service, have fallen during service or post-service due to addiction and alcoholism, raise funds for widows and children, and a way to appreciate the freedoms we still get to have each day.