Veterans returning from serving overseas often face a wide variety of physical and emotional challenges as they readjust to life at home. How they overcome those challenges, however, differs with each person. For those who are musically inclined, one way to, well, get back in a daily rhythm is through participation in an increasingly popular form of therapy known as drum circles.
Like a musical jam with percussion instruments, drum circles promote healing, provide an outlet for stress, increase relaxation and provide an opportunity for veterans to connect and start building social support. And thanks to a partnership between the Red Cross and the Cincinnati Arts Association, veterans both at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and throughout the community now have an opportunity to drum their way to better health.
Utilizing a grant, Red Cross Regional Director of the Service to the Armed Forces Cory Paul delivered more than a dozen drums at the community meeting at the Cincinnati VA, allowing the drum circles to commence. After the meeting, Nalda Z. Gordon, VA Program Director of the Treatment Recovery Activity Center (TRAC), wrote to Cory in regards to his appearance of the drum debut.
“Thank you so much for attending the community meeting on last Friday…From the reaction we got, you can see that they will be put to good use.”
The many thanks to the Red Cross did not stop there. Glenn A. Costie, Director of the VA Medical Center, added a letter of appreciation for the donation to the TRAC program. “Red Cross support has made a difference in many lives and helps us to provide our Veterans with complementary items and services that may otherwise not be available.”
The Red Cross’s Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) supports America’s military and veteran families prepare for, cope with and respond to the many challenges of military service. And while working with the VA is a common connection, it’s not the only one. The region’s SAF office also has a partnership with Team Rubicon, a nonprofit organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. Team Rubicon’s primary mission is providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be them domestic or international—a mission that sounds familiar.
Recently, Cory received a call from the Cincinnati VA stating they had a 100-percent disabled veteran in need of help moving to the Cincinnati suburb of Cleves. He started a case and made a referral to Team Rubicon. Service above self is the driving force behind all of the team’s operational activity. Their actions are characterized by the constant pursuit to prevent or alleviate human suffering and restore human dignity by helping others on their worst days. After receiving word, Team Rubicon instantly organized a moving party, recruited volunteers, and went to work helping the disabled veteran into a new home.
“These kind of partnerships are invaluable,” says Cory. “Instead of saying to the client that this is not something we do, we leverage our partners and make it happen.”
Every day, SAF provides 24/7 global emergency communication services and support in military and veteran healthcare facilities across the country and around the world. In the last 12 months, the region reached 2,151 members of the military, veterans and their families and provided 3,140 services including emergency messaging, financial assistance and information and referrals. The SAF provided resiliency training to 316 service members and their families. It also supported the Cincinnati and Dayton VA hospitals with volunteer support and supplies, including model cars, reading glasses, phone cards, clothing and music therapy percussion instruments totaling more than $8,000.