Its a condition that our nations veterans are all too aware of, PTSD. All month long, organizations across the country and right here in Rockford are helping raise awareness. As many struggle to find peace at the VA Center in Rockford, many are finding serenity with the healing sounds of music.
With every strum of a cord and every lyric to a song, comes a story. Behind the eyes of every veteran, comes a story too.
"You know sometimes thoughts creep in. You know there's depression and anxiety," said Marine veteran Sean Sparrow.
Just the way a good tune can make you tap your foot, a local organization is tapping into the lives of these veterans through music.
"You can get that sadness out, or that joy out," said Sparrow. "You can express those things that are inside of you because you're in a comfortable environment with other musicians."
Trish Rooney and Stan McGroarty brought the not for profit organization 'Guitars 4 Vets' to Rockford to give vets a weapon to fight symptoms of war.
"Someone will come in struggling with PTSD or something that wakes them up at night with bad dreams, if he reaches for a guitar instead of a bottle of pills, that's our idea of real victory," Guitars 4 Vets instructor Stan McGroarty said.
Glenn Lego served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1970 and always dreamed of playing guitar but he was never able to pursue his dream.
"I wanted to be a multimedia specialist so I could be on the radio," Lego said. "But they didn't want me to be that way. They needed store keepers. So I was pretty disappointed with that."
Sean and Glenn recently graduated from Guitars 4 Vets. Through the program they found a new 'band of brothers' and a new purpose.
"I don't have to feel as if I am by myself," says Sparrow.
"Reality just kind of took my dreams and stomped on them," said Lego. "But now I can dream and bring some of my dreams into fruition."
Guitars 4 Vets are gearing up to play their first gig at Heroes Unplugged July 2nd at The Nordlof Center.