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Veterans Use Art to Heal - KOAM TV 7

Veterans Use Art to Heal

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

A veterans program was held tonight at Christ's Community United Methodist Church in Joplin. On the docket: food, camaraderie and art.
With every brush stroke a calming blue fills the blank canvas and these veterans get more involved in the task at hand. The task is called "pop smoke" which in military terms is, “a means of being extracted from a situation. So if I was calling in a helicopter to come pick me up, let’s say on a mountain side, the helicopter would call me over the radio and would say pop smoke and I would have a smoke canister and that way they could see exactly where I was,” explains Amy Donaldson.
At this event, art is meant to do the same, pull veterans from their daily thoughts or struggles to enjoy a moment of peace.
“Living with certain types of injuries such as a traumatic brain injury, your mind is constantly going and its very loud. Having that peace for just a few hours is so helpful,” Donaldson, a veteran and co-creator of Compass Quest explains.
Compass Quest, a veteran’s organization created by Donaldson and her husband Ted, will put on art and writing classes every month as a way to heal and bring veterans together.
Jeff Wehr knows a lot about camaraderie, he spent 21 years in the US Army.
“I enjoyed the closeness of everybody. The people you work with you do things with after work outside of work but civilian life it doesn't seem like you do that a lot,” Wehr says.
Painting blue skies among other vets, he feels connected.
“Telling old stories and stuff, it helps you to relax just knowing that you've got similarities with other people,” he adds.
Similarities including the understanding that sometimes, you just need a healthy escape.
“We live our lives so fast and so quick and we almost forget what you need to do to just stop and take a second for yourself,” says Donaldson.
The next event will be held on February 3rd, a therapeutic writing event. The plan is to have writing and art displays at the end of the year.

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