DENVER — They survive bullets and bombs, yet the thing that helps save their lives is a guitar. 7Everyday Hero Peter Faris is helping fellow veterans follow a different tune.
"I am a passionately committed guitar picker," Faris said.
Faris is a guitar player who knows well the struggles facing our veterans. Faris is a Vietnam veteran.
"I was in the Army from '65 to '68," Faris said.
These days, Faris teaches free guitar lessons through a national non-profit called Guitars 4 Vets.
"We believe learning to play music has wonderful benefits for people who have these kinds of problems with PTSD," Faris said.
"It is a good outlet, a very good outlet," said veteran Darin Boggs.
"Some of the people who have come to us have had wounds that trouble them. One guy had a bayonet through his hand," Faris explained.
Others just need a diversion.
More soldiers have committed suicide since the Vietnam War than have died in actual battle.
"It forces you to focus," Boggs added.
"It is just a whole new positive outlet in their life to stay connected, which is a big fight for all these guys with PTSD, to staying out of the isolation," said Jessica Conyers with the VA.
It is a positive experience that pays dividends in many ways.
"At the end of twelve lessons if they have stuck it out, the national organization sends them a brand new, free guitar," Faris said.
The Denver chapter of Guitars 4 Vets has given away at least eight guitars thus far. But the real payoff is the joy that comes with the music.
"It is hard to tell you how good it makes you feel to know you're doing that," Faris said.
And Peter Faris has been doing it every Wednesday for two and a half years.
To learn more about the Guitars 4 Vets program go to www.guitars4vets.org.
And to learn how to volunteer at the V.A. go to https://www.denver.va.gov/.
Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.