In Texas, a group of veterans at the San Antonio Military Medical Center is making beautiful music, thanks to volunteers with the Warrior Cry Music Project.
The nonprofit gives instruments — guitars, drums, trumpets and more — to injured service members, then provides them with music lessons.
Robert Henne started the organization five years ago because he believes playing instruments helped him recover from injuries he sustained in a car accident. At the time, his wife was working as an Air Force doctor at the Walter Reed Medical Center, and he wondered if the same process could help wounded veterans recover.
As the veterans work through the inevitable squawks and stumbles that come along with playing an instrument, they also learn to overcome other challenges. “It’s not just learning to play music,” Henne tells the San Antonio News-Express. “It helps reprogram what’s going on in the head.”
The former soldiers agree. Army veteran Ricardo Cesar suffers nerve damage in his fingers, but plucking the guitar is helping with his recovery. “Just parking here and knowing I’m coming in here lowers my blood pressure,” Cesar says. “This is my time. This is my therapy. Now when I’m starting to transition (to civilian life), at home, I can shut the world out and start playing my guitar, rather than, you know, drinking or doing all types of other nonsense that I don’t need to be doing.”