VA hospital

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VA hospital

Postby 1four5 » Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:22 am

A mile and a half up the street from my house is a big VA hospital, and we thoght it would be cool to go up there and play for the vets...so we went up there and checked it out and scheduled an evening (volunteering our time). We put together a set with some patriotic stuff, old country, some beatles...stuff like that. We played there last Thursday evening. What an experience. What a horrible place. What a somber reality check. My heart bleeds for some of them guys. We played in the caffateria of what they called the "transitional living" ward. Guys missing legs or arms, guys sick as all get out, guys old as the hills, some guys our age...some guys getting better and may go home some day, some guys just waiting to die there. Some guys getting into it, some guys staring off into space. We got very little appause between songs...most of it was from staff or visitors...they seemed to be a very tough crowd, with some smiles and nods, and that was about it. I was certianly having my doubts...but that was put to rest real quick, as we ended our hour set and started packing up... they wouldn't let us leave, and got us to play one more tune. It took over an hour to get out of there...they just wouldn't let us go, and some of them even followed us out into the parking lot. We found out that what we did for them never happens...the last time anyone came there was Christmas carolers and that was it...my god...and these are the guys that gave us the country we have. The lady that runs the place certianly looked cold and hard and like she's got a million miles on her face, and started out the evening like yeah yeah whatever...by the time it was over she was smiling and clapping and having a good time. We were thanked profusely, and begged to come back...so we scheduled a date for next month (and plan to do it monthly). It was a very moving experience. I'm anxious to get back there and get to know some of them guys.
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Postby NEONMOONY » Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:25 am

That's terrific. Maybe they're not going to appluad between every song, but I'm sure they know and appreciate true outreach such as you gave them.
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Postby 1armbandit » Fri Jul 21, 2006 1:03 pm

Great 1fer. Thanks for stepping up.
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Postby ricochet » Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:55 pm

Wow! That's great!
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Postby watertore » Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:56 pm

Thanks for doing that! Most of us don't realize how negleted the vet hospitals and state mental institutions are. I often play these places, and like you described it, it is something you never will forget. Also, I can add, that they really don't care what kind of music you play, if you are solo, band, amplified, acoustic, good, mediocre, or bad. As long as it is live, and you get into it, it will be a great gift! I hope you continue to do such work, and others here take a chance and give it a try. Walter
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Postby dcblues » Fri Jul 21, 2006 3:42 pm

There's a military retirement home in DC and a bunch of the musicians from the barbershop (http://www.acousticblues.com) have been doing shows there. I played there last month. I was expecting a really depressing, hospital type atmosphere, but this place was nice! It's a campus, with several buildings and a golf course. There was even a bar in the building where we played. We played in an auditorium/movie theater, on a nice big stage. We had a pretty light crowd (maybe 50 people), but they really appreciated us.
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Postby oleman » Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:48 pm

Bless your heart 1.4.5.
Our Duo, sometimes trio, tries to play at a retirement home, childrens hospital etc, at least every couple of weeks.
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Postby Elecktrablue » Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:27 pm

As an Army vet myself, and the daughter of an Air Force vet, I would like to thank you for what you did! Very cool thing, 1four5! I'm proud to share a forum with you!

Thank you!
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Postby fat paul » Sat Jul 22, 2006 3:31 am

I have a tear in my eye reading this. What a cool thing to do. I see a band meeting in our neer future
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Postby 1four5 » Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:53 pm

Thank you so much for all the kind words and great encouragment! And thank you to you'all that play places like this, or will in the future. We also play at rest homes, and I can tell you that theses places and people are changing my life on the inside dramatically. I see a lot of lonelyness and depression on top of the physical issues at these places. I'm learning that life is very fragile, and when it comes down to it, in the end, all we got is eachother.
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Postby warren » Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:34 pm

excellent 145....that is a great thing you are doing....we owe our freedom to the vets....it's a shame more people don't think about that!

ww
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Postby bosco » Mon Jul 24, 2006 4:05 pm

What a horrible place. What a somber reality check.

Good on ya' One-fer, the big guy has special plans for people like you!

My father in law, who suffered from dementia and died in 1992, was in the local VA Hopital here for 7 years. Everything in his possession was stolen there, including his wedding ring, and he was abused in unspeakable ways.

I'm not trying to detract from your altruism, just backing your assessment of the situation.

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