Triumph Over Adversity for Wounded Soldier

WINCHESTER, Calif., Sept. 25, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Todd Rauch thought he had his life pretty well mapped out. From an early age he knew that he wanted to be in the military. He prepared by joining his high school's Reserve Officers' Training Corps, becoming the Battalion and Drill Team Commander. After graduation Rauch joined the U.S. Army.

In 2003, Rauch was part of a ground assault in Iraq. "We were there to help establish law enforcement," said Rauch. Several months after successfully securing the area, however, Rauch and a member of the Iraqi Security Forces encountered an explosive which detonated before there was time to flee. Raush's wounds were severe, and he spent the next year and a half hospitalized.

"About three months into my hospitalization I was introduced to the Help Hospitalized Veterans arts & crafts program," said Rauch. "It was difficult at first because I couldn't move my arm or my fingers, but they got me to try a paint-by-number kit. My first effort wasn't very pretty, but I liked working on the kits because they kept my mind off my injuries," he added.

Rauch began selecting more difficult kits because they were helping him regain the range of motion in his hand, arm and shoulder. "Each craft that I completed left me exhausted, but my physical condition improved right along with the outcome of the crafts. In fact, my rehabilitation is advancing very well as a result of my continuous work on those therapeutic kits," said Rauch, who has since returned home, completed his degree and is now working for the U.S. Army as a civilian.

"I'm working on a kit that I plan to enter into next year's National Veterans Creative Arts Festival," Rauch proudly stated when asked what was next for him. The Festival, an annual weeklong event for veterans, is about learning, sharing, fellowship and celebration of the healing power of the arts.

Photos accompanying this release are available at:

Rauch.Todd.USArmy.Photo Rauch.Todd.Crafts.Photo

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