Many years ago I had a Professor in the Humanities Department at the University of Florida named Dr. Funkhouser. The one thing I remember him saying in one of his long lectures in Walker Auditorium was his characterization of music. He described it as a mysterious thing that has inscrutable effects on human beings. The story I am featuring on this podcast episode proves that theory out. It comes from The Charlotte Observer and is titled: Music project helps veterans coping with war memories that was submitted by Brittany Ruess of the Columbia Daily Tribune in Missouri.
Brittany tells about The Healing Box Project that was started by musician Dave Dunklee and his wife CJ. The Dunklees started The Healing Box Project at the Warrior Transition Unit in Fort Leonard Wood a few years ago, serving soldiers Dunklee described as “fresh off the battlefield.” Trying to cope with the wounds of war, music became part of their recovery process.
When the Warrior Transition Unit was closed down they wanted to go on with their work helping veterans even though they were not officially a part of the VA. Luckily they were contacted by a peer specialist who invited them to continue The Healing Box Project at the Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital at Columbia, Missouri. Through the Program they give guitars and lessons to disabled Veterans. they give the joy of music through guitar playing. They use music to replace symptoms of PTSD and our motto is “the guitar is the box and healing begins with the first strum.” One of the primary goals of the Program is to prevent suicides.
Today the Project is working with many Vietnam Veterans at Truman Memorial. Dunklee says: “When a veteran receives a guitar, the reaction is always the same. Maybe they haven’t smiled for a long, long time, but there’s always a smile.” And sometimes it’s like disbelief.”
You are encouraged to visit their website and discover more about this wonderful Project that is helping many Vietnam Veterans cope with the ravages of PTSD.