Guitar raffle to help fund VA music therapy program

December 1, 2017 GMT

A red, white and blue guitar signed by musician Ted Nugent may become just the ticket for establishing a music therapy program at the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

In order to use music as a tool to help veterans manage post-traumatic stress disorder and potential suicidal thoughts, the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America Umpqua Valley Chapter 805 (AVVA) has been working to set up the music therapy program for the VA’s mental health department. The chapter is planning to help fund the program through raffling off a guitar decorated with the American flag that the Douglas County Friends of NRA had donated.

“It gives them another outlet to let their feelings out and communicate,” Linda Mooney, president of the local AVVA, said of veterans playing musical instruments. She said many veterans struggle with communicating their feelings and dealing with PTSD. “For our Vietnam veterans, this is over 50 years they’ve been dealing with this, and as you get older you wear yourself down trying to hold it in and it comes out in ways that are causing suicide, and causing really negative effects on them physically as well as mentally.”

Her husband Terry Mooney, president of the local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, said he believes music therapy is helpful for him and his fellow veterans handling PTSD.

“I have a Native American flute I play and that can be really soothing, it’s very rewarding to me, very relaxing,” he said. “Once it gets you in your right mind, it’ll take away your anger and make you feel better about yourself and the people around you.”

Raffle tickets are $5 each or 5 tickets for $20, and the drawing will be held at 6 p.m. Monday during the Vietnam Veterans Christmas Party. Linda Mooney said she hopes to raise $7,500 with the raffle.

Members of the Douglas County Friends of NRA had pitched in to buy the Main Street Guitar for $3,200 during an auction to benefit their own group, and they decided to donate it to the AVVA.

“They asked if we would mind if they raffled the guitar, to raise funds to purchase several instruments for the program, and of course we were excited to see it used for good,” said Katie Jones, chairwoman of the local Friends of NRA. Retired music teachers and musicians have volunteered to teach music lessons using these instruments.

The Mooneys said they see the music therapy program as adding to the services the VA already offers.

They hope to use the funds to buy several other guitars, keyboards, horns and other instruments for veterans to use. Linda Mooney said they are also taking donations of instruments to add to the program.

“Music seems to spark a creative piece and an avenue for them to communicate, so it might be with a trumpet, a snare drum, a piano or a guitar, and we hope to cover all those areas,” Linda Mooney said.

She added the support from the VA has been tremendous and veterans have expressed their interest in participating.

Terry Mooney said musicians often play music at the Roseburg VA Medical Center and it makes the veterans feel more comfortable, and he said music therapy can potentially help lower the rate of veteran suicide by giving them a healthy outlet.

For more information and to purchase raffle tickets, contact Linda Mooney at 541-817-7646 or local AVVA Treasurer Christy Mooney at 541-580- 6528 or leo2476m@yahoo.com.