SOURCE: Help Hospitalized Veterans

Help Hospitalized Veterans

July 12, 2010 18:03 ET

Help Hospitalized Veterans: Every Week Somebody's Life Is Changed

WINCHESTER, CA--(Marketwire - July 12, 2010) -  Michael Cooper is a Vietnam veteran from Tampa, Florida. Having served in the U.S. Army from 1970-73 as a helicopter flight engineer, Cooper saw more than his share of combat. "My father was a WWII Army veteran so the decision to serve my country came easily," says Cooper. He also knows firsthand what it's like to be hospitalized, adding, "It's the boredom that's the worst. All the free time you have between appointments is the hardest to deal with." Cooper recalls coming out of surgery and the first thing he was asked was if he would like to assemble a craft kit. The individual offering the kit was a Craft Care Specialist (CCS), employed by national nonprofit Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) and stationed at the Tampa VA medical center.

As a patient, Cooper went on to enjoy working with many of the arts & crafts provided by HHV and later decided to volunteer in the craft clinic. His help with HHV craft kits has now come full-circle, as Cooper himself is now employed as the CCS at the Tampa VA Medical Center. "I never dreamed I'd have this job. It's such a joy to be of service to other veterans. It's particularly rewarding to help those who are feeling down. Every day I get to witness new sparks of life. For some veterans, work on the arts and crafts brings about improvement of fine and gross motor skills, while others enjoy increased attention spans. Cognitive improvements have even been seen in brain injury patients. Every week somebody's life is changed," adds Cooper. "We utilize the HHV kits throughout the hospital and favorites include model cars and motorcycles, leather and sun catchers."

"Perhaps the most intriguing benefit the arts & crafts provide is the impact they're having in the pain care clinic," said Cooper. "You wouldn't believe it, but people with significant pain find their tolerance level increases while working on the arts & crafts. It's as if the diversion tricks the brain and for that period of time the patient is able to find relief and comfort."

HHV is the largest supplier of free therapeutic arts and crafts kits to our nation's VA and military hospitals. Since the organization was founded in 1971, over 25 million therapeutic arts and crafts kits have been donated to hospitalized veterans absolutely free of charge with over $3.5 million worth donated to the Tampa VA medical center since their inception to the program.

For more information on HHV programs and services please visit www.hhv.org or call toll-free 1-888-567-VETS.

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