SOURCE: Help Hospitalized Veterans

Help Hospitalized Veterans

August 23, 2010 11:02 ET

Help Hospitalized Veterans: Arts & Crafts Crucial to Combat Medic's Recovery

WINCHESTER, CA--(Marketwire - August 23, 2010) -  It takes a special kind of person to be an Army combat medic and that's exactly what Timothy Ely is. Ely served in Vietnam from 1968-1969 and was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery in action. When asked about his award Ely responded, "I didn't do anything special, others there were just as brave." Modest as he is, the fact remains that Ely did do something special. Travelling in an armored personnel vehicle, Ely and his group arrived at a locked fence. Another medic attempted to open it but the fence was rigged to explosives which, upon detonation, severely wounded the medic and prompted an arms fire on the group. Ely and another soldier quickly tended to the medic. Miraculously, they all survived and eventually returned home.

But there was a day when Ely could no longer ignore the fact that he brought something dark back with him from Vietnam. Images and memories of his experiences were lurking within and he realized that he needed professional help. He was placed in VA's Intensive Care Outpatient program where he was exposed to the arts & crafts he says were "crucial to my recovery." Ely added, "Working on kits became my safe place."

Ely was reluctant to work on the kits initially, but a persistent therapist helped turn things around. Negative thoughts were soon drowned out due to the concentration needed to work on them. "I started with models but leatherwork really interested me. The kits gave me a creative outlet when I needed it most. I tell other veterans getting care through VA they should check out the craft kit program because there's something for everyone."

Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) is the largest supplier of free therapeutic arts & crafts kits to VA and military hospitals worldwide. Since 1971 over 25 million arts and craft kits have been distributed. For more information on HHV products and services please visit www.hhv.org or call 1-888-567-VETS.

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