American Legion Auxiliary — February 2013
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The Last Word

“The PTSD group I belong to at the VA was instrumental in encouraging my healing through art. Through the VA staff, creativity, and support of my fellow veterans, I have begun to successfully cope with my PTSD.”
- Tom Fontanes, NVCAF artist representing Loma Linda, Calif. VA

Tom Fontanes, a participant in the “Military Combat Experience” category for the 2012 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, said he created the collage above to represent his combat and healing experience. “The flag and Statue of Liberty symbolize why I went – to maintain the freedom of the South Vietnamese. The campaign buttons are the administrations I went to and left Vietnam under (1968-1969). The puzzle is the cover of Castrated Hearts, a poetry book about PTSD by a veterans writing group I belong to at the VA hospital. I’ve always been creative, and now I use art and poetry to deal with my PTSD.”
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