Play The War Away

“I’ll print you one.”

“Excuse me?”

“I can print you one, Jaye.”

“Dr. Croom, I’m not talking about a picture of ukulele but an actually ukulele.”

“So am I.”

(Pause)

“Whoa.”

Dr. Croom, an Army Veterinary Corps Veteran, lives Kalamazoo, Michigan.  She also has another business – www.VetsIn3Dcom.  She gave me a glimpse into the amazing world of 3D printing.  Her magic machine produced this working (v)ukulele.  Whoa.

From there I called up my friends at CreatiVets. www.CreatiVets.org is a nonprofit whose goal is to offer opportunities of relief and healing for the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country.  Their purpose is to use various forms of art, including songwriting, visual arts, music and creative writing, to help disabled veterans cope with service-related trauma (i.e., post-traumatic stress, or PTS) by fostering self-expression in a way that allows them to transform their stories of trauma and struggle into an art form that can inspire and motivate continued healing.

I talked with Richard Casper, Founder and Marine Corp Veteran.  I told him what we were up to and asked him if he knew of any Veterans who would like to help us add an artistic touch to our first ever Vukulele.  He said, “I’ve got the first one.”

Here’s how Richard describes it:

 “Music and art saved my life and that’s why I ultimately founded CreatiVets. I felt like this first piece should be done by myself. I was hit by 4 I.E.D.s in Iraq and my brain injury ended up being a blessing because it lead me to art. I put a few different symbols into that piece if you didn’t notice. The base of it all is a metal look that is meant to represent the way veterans trap in their thoughts and experiences and “box” it up. The sand covering the bottom is from the time I spent in Iraq. The opening of the Vuke is also the opening of the metal box and the American flag shines through letting me know that I can play the war away. The red in the flag runs down in a few spots to represent the blood spilled for America.”

Big thanks to Wendell Walker, ATL’s finest guitar whisperer, who helped us put it all together.  We will be auctioning off our first Vukulele with proceeds to support ASF’s multi-faceted, Veterans’ music program.

Count it in…

#MusicMakesItBetter

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