For veterans struggling to adjust to civilian life, playing music can provide a means of focus and escape. That's the founding idea of Six String Heroes, a non-profit organization based at Jefferson Barracks. The organization connects St. Louis area veterans with guitar lessons as a means of music therapy.
After six lessons, veterans can earn a free guitar. So far, more than 170 guitars have been awarded.
"It gets them to thinking about something else besides what’s going on with them at the time," said Iraq veteran Tender Lewis. A former participant in Six String Heroes, Lewis now volunteers as an instructor.
In 2010, Lewis was struggling with PTSD. She went to the VA for help, and was referred to Six String Heroes.
"The first night I was there I had three anxiety attacks," said Lewis. "But I stuck with it….it’s a great program."
Vietnam veteran Dennis Reeves has also found an outlet at Six String Heroes. Music has long been his escape but he especially finds being an instructor healing.
"I actually get more out of it than I think my students do," said Reeves.
Six String Heroes
Non-profit organization that provides guitar lessons to veterans. Participants who complete at least six of the eight lessons receive a free guitar.
Classes located at the Jefferson Barracks, Quincy, Ill.and St. Louis, Mo.
For more information, visit the Six String Heroes Facebook page.