Healing Box Project teaching veterans to play guitar

7 months 4 days 17 hours ago Tuesday, April 17 2018 Apr 17, 2018 Tuesday, April 17, 2018 12:27:00 PM CDT April 17, 2018 in News
By: Rob Veno, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - The Truman VA has a new way to help veterans fight the blues by using the blues. 

The Healing box Project is a program that helps veterans combat mental illness by playing the guitar.

Healing Box Project founder Dave Dunklee said, "Now that I'm retired I can actually do something to help them through the battles that they face."

The program works by giving veterans donated acoustic guitars, and teaching them to play in class-style lessons.

Veteran Jim Gaertner said that when left for the Vietnam he was a lead guitarist in a band, but when he returned he could not play the instrument.

"I just couldn't get my hands to do what my brain was telling them to do," Gaertner said.

He say now with the help of the Healing Box he has been able to regain many of his old abilities. 

"I've been able to reconnect in a manner of speaking with my youth which I lost in Vietnam," he said.

Veteran Conrad Ruybal said he loves that even in his old age, he can still rock.

"I've come a long ways and to think that a 77-year-old man could play a guitar and play a little blues which I really feel like is an accomplishment," Ruybal said.

The program goes beyond helping people learn how to play the guitar. It has also been crucial for some veterans battling depression.

Veteran Ricky Moore said, "It's something I always wanted to do; it's therapy, plus I learn how to play a little bit."

Moore is not alone. Ruybal joined the group in 2016 after he lost his wife. Until joining the Healing Box Project, Ruybal said he felt isolated.

"It's not the same once you lose your wife, your house is like an empty shell," Ruybal said.

Both men say with the help of the Healing Box, they have something to look forward to every week.

"If I'm feeling depressed, knowing that I can come here to the Healing Box, I come out of that depression at least for that period of time," Moore said.

"It has been healing," Ruybal said. "It has helped me tremendously to keep on pushing, and to take everyday and enjoy it."

They also said that being around other veterans has added so many new people to their lives.

"When I get my guitar it kind of reminds me that 'Hey I got some friends out there and I'm waiting for Tuesday so that we can get together and jam,' and that's exactly what we do," Ruybal said.

Dunklee said what Moore, Gaertner and Ruybal have been through are exactly why he and his wife started the Healing Box Project.

"For those people that haven't smiled in years or haven't had any kind of enjoyment in years, the guitar and our sessions have brought enjoyment and life back to them," Dunklee said.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The 17th annual Partnership Against Hunger collected nearly 12,000 pounds of food and more than $42,000 in monetary... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 11:30:00 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
MILLER COUNTY - The Miller County Sheriff’s Office conducted a large investigation on November 11 and 12 by the United... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 7:31:00 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - City Manager Mike Matthes announced his resignation Tuesday morning and it has caused a lot of reactions from... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 6:37:00 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON DC - Health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert for consumers to avoid... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 6:19:00 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is renewing a lobbying ban for members of his office. Parson... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 5:46:59 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Margie Vandeven will be reinstated as the education commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 4:49:00 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - On Tuesday afternoon Jefferson City Public Schools announced new administrative staffing appointments for Capital City High School... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 4:02:00 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
MARSHALL – One Salvadoran family in mid-Missouri could be split up with the end of what is called TPS or... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 3:56:00 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
CAMDENTON - The Camden County Sheriff's Office identified the victim in Monday's early morning homicide as Derek Ray Harrelson, 34,... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 3:38:21 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council approved a $12 million improvement project on Nifong Boulevard at Monday's meeting. The... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 3:09:00 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The sheriff of a rural southeast Missouri county pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges for using... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 2:27:00 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Mike Matthes will resign as city manager, effective Wednesday, the City of Columbia announced in a press release.... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 1:32:00 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The State Board of Education announced Tuesday that Margie Vandeven will return to her role as commissioner... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 12:44:00 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A judge sentenced a man to seven years in prison for his role in a robbery in April.... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 12:19:32 PM CST November 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police are looking for a man in connection with a shooting early Tuesday morning that left a... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 11:12:00 AM CST November 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police identified the victim in Monday's deadly shooting as 19-year-old Nilez R. Nichols. Jefferson City Communications... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 10:43:00 AM CST November 20, 2018 in News
WARREN - A Benton County Sheriff's Deputy is recovering after he shot himself at a gun range Monday night. ... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, November 20 2018 Nov 20, 2018 Tuesday, November 20, 2018 8:13:00 AM CST November 20, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - It's a similar idea to paying a monthly fee for Netflix or a membership to a gym, but... More >>
1 day ago Monday, November 19 2018 Nov 19, 2018 Monday, November 19, 2018 11:19:00 PM CST November 19, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 31°
6am 32°
7am 32°
8am 35°
9am 40°