Craft Kits Help Paralyzed Veteran Recover Hand Function

When They Gave Me a Couple of Kits I Thought, "What Am I Supposed to Do With These?"


WINCHESTER, Calif., Oct. 30, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Since 1971 hundreds of thousands of veterans from every branch of the U.S. military have benefited from the free arts and crafts provided by Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV). Through the years, many of them have shared their stories with the organization.

Joe "Rollin' Joe" Valasquez from Washington state said, "HHV helped save my life! Nearly thirty years ago, I was in a hospital bed in Palo Alto, California when a recreation therapist came through the ward with a craft cart.  They gave me a couple of kits and I thought, "What am I supposed to do with these?"

Velasquez was partially paralyzed, and had no hand function.

He was told to keep the craft kits anyway, and when ready, to give them try.  "The first kit took me a long time to complete.  It wasn't very pretty, but I finished it," said Velasquez, beaming proudly.  "The craft kits not only helped with my fine motor skills but also my overall attitude.  Finishing the kits - although each was a small achievement, became very big accomplishments to me.  They were baby steps, but they were a big part of my overall rehabilitation and recovery," Velasquez added.

And veteran Gerry Braun of Augusta, Georgia reported, "Working on the craft kits has been a lot of fun and helped pass the time during my hospitalization.  They allowed me to keep my mind active and boosted my concentration.  The HHV donors do a tremendous job, and I always make a point of telling other veterans working on HHV craft kits to be sure and mail the donor card to let them know how much we appreciate their generosity."

Edwin Hawkins, a veteran from Hampton, Virginia said, "The craft kits made me realize I can still do things, as I was able to take something out of nothing and turn it into something wonderful.  That did a lot to boost my confidence.  I thank the HHV donors, especially.  Their support has been very helpful in my recovery and rehabilitation."

These are but a handful of the success stories about veterans who have turned their lives around through Help Hospitalized Veterans' arts and crafts.  If you are a veteran receiving medical care, you qualify for HHV's free arts and crafts.  Call 1-888-567-VETS (8387) and ask for ext. 112 to learn more.


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