Friday, May 18, 2012

Veterans Court to Benefit from Performance by Classical Guitarist/Former POW

War is Hell!

Those three words barely begin to describe the unimaginable, horrific actions our Troops might endure. No amount of training can duplicate the harsh realities they may be faced with, sometimes just months after attending their Senior Prom.

With our ability to jet back and forth over the oceans today, you might be involved in a fire fight one day and the same time the next day be sitting at your Mom’s dinner table, beginning the transition back to a more normal life with the war still directing your thoughts and instincts.

Most of us transition with little or no problems, but the memories of war are always there. A few though, aren’t as lucky. They may have a more difficult time moving past letting those memories control them. They may turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their senses temporarily. After all, Veterans are just people like everybody else, but people who sacrificed heavily for the freedom and liberty of others.

Those few, perhaps due to others around them not fully understanding, may run afoul of the laws of society. All too often they have been just thrown into prisons, depending on the severity of their actions and just locked away with no consideration of their history.

Not making excuses, but not every one of them deserves lengthy imprisonment with hardened criminals. Some may be deserving of leniency along with mentoring from other Veterans or reduced fines that courts have been unable to administer in the past.

To help those individuals, we have in Clark County now a Veterans Therapeutic Court presided over by Judge Darvin Zimmerman that “provides a means to successfully rehabilitate veterans by diverting them from the traditional criminal justice system and providing them with the tools they need to lead a productive and law-abiding life through treatment, rehabilitative programming, reinforcement and judicial monitoring.”

Like others around the country, our own Clark County Veterans Therapeutic Court is funded through a generous grant and donations from the community.

Few people understand war and prison more than Cuban Born Classical Guitarist Hector Garcia who participated in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961 that failed to oust Cuba’s Communist Dictator, Fidel Castro. Captured and imprisoned by Castro’s forces, Hector Garcia would spend two years in Castro’s prison. Already an accomplished guitarist at the time, he succeeded in obtaining a guitar while in prison, “practicing all day and most of the night, he provided hope and inspiration to the other prisoners, but angered the guards, who locked him up in solitary confinement many times.”

Still, he persevered and continued composing and playing throughout his two-year imprisonment. Shortly after his release he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show where he performed musical compositions about freedom and war.

Hector Garcia will bring his talents to our community to headline a benefit on behalf of our own Veterans Therapeutic Court.

As stated in an article at, “Veterans in Clark County will get a boost from world class entertainers on Monday, May 21. On behalf of the Clark County Veterans Therapeutic Court, Living Hope Campus, located at 2711 NE Andresen Rd. (the former location of the Kmart store), will host a musical fundraiser to benefit veterans.”

He is to be accompanied by internationally acclaimed classical guitarist Ernesto Quilban, a former pupil of his.

Also performing will be Ricky Lee Jackson, Tamara Knight, and Don Mitchel and Judy Koch Smith of Three Together, along with National Fiddler Champion Cynthia Hamm.

Lori Volkman of Witty Little Secret will be introducing a movie clip from the documentary “Where Soldiers Come From” a future event to be held on behalf of the Clark County Veterans Court.

The doors open at Living Hope Concert Hall at 5:30 and the event is slated to go from 6 PM to 8:30 PM.

Tickets may be pre-paid online for $20 or purchased at the door for $30.

President George W. Bush said, “The willingness of America's veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.”

I hope will be able to show your gratitude and enjoy an evening of music in support of our Veterans.

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