(Part 1) The arts can be a powerful tool for those seeking peace after trauma.
Guitars for Vets is a national nonprofit that provides free guitars and guitars lessons to veterans struggling with the debilitating effects of post traumatic stress. How do they do it?
We are excited to welcome G4V co-founder Patrick Nettesheim to the show to discuss G4V's exciting origin story, and how they make such a huge impact on the veteran community.
Questions? Comments? Continue the discussion by requesting access to our exclusive WVF Facebook Group.
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On behalf of our members, we serve as an advocate for Wisconsin’s veteran business community and promote economic opportunity for military veterans, military families, and veteran-friendly businesses.
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Opening theme: "I'm Not Shy" by Joy and the Boy
Today on Wisconsin veterans forward it's arts month, December is arts month at the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. And you might be asking yourself first off, holy cow. Is it already December 1st? Yeah. Yeah, it is. We're in our last 12th of the year already. I hope , uh , I hope y'all are on track to hit your personal professional business metrics. If not, you still got a month home stretch . Y all , you can do it, but you're probably asking yourself that. And once you've come to terms with the fact that it is in fact, December 1st , 20, 21, crazy. Uh , the other thing you're asking is what do the arts have to do with the veteran community, with the military community aren't veterans and military members just like robotic lack of personality. We just take orders and, you know, oh , of course the answer is no. Uh, <laugh> uh , there is a lot of talent and a lot of diverse talents in the military. There are musicians, there are actors and actresses. There are artists, there are people . I mean, it's a talented military, very diverse, very talented military we have here. And even outside of that, post-military an important consideration is , uh, the role that the arts plays in the healing process for many veterans, military spouses, military family members, caregivers, everybody that's, that's even tangentially connected to the veteran ecosystem could or can, or does benefit from the power of the arts. And for those of you that are familiar with the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce every year, we have an event called veterans, light up the arts, where we seek to draw attention to the healing power of the arts for the veteran military family community. And it really is an impactful thing. And today, super excited to talk about my absolute like favorite organization run by some of my favorite people. One we're talking to today , uh, his name's Patrick. He's awesome. You're gonna get to know him. He's the co-founder of a national nonprofit organization called guitars for vets. And as the name implies, they provide free guitars and guitar lessons for veterans to help them overcome the trauma and the struggles of post-service life and post traumatic stress. Talk about a worthy cause. And this organization , uh , has just blown up over the last couple years. I mean, just blown up. They've got hundreds of chapters nationwide. They're getting thousands of guitars into the hands of people and lessons and giving people the skills to be able to use this, to heal from stuff that they legit need help with. And it's helping people overcome adversity and it's saving lives legit. When you help somebody heal or cope or manage posttraumatic stress, you're saving a life. It's the coolest thing. Oh, Hey, focus, digital coming in air over focus . Digital says the love G for V and a lot of love for guitars for vets out there, and it's warranted. They deserve it. They're doing great work out there. And I'm excited to talk about , uh , not just what they do, but where they came from, because that's a really important part of this whole equation is we're gonna ask Patrick how they were founded, where they came from, where you know, where the , what the future holds for this organization. Cuz the sky's the limit. The sky's the limit for this. I'm super excited about this. Anyways. I'm gonna zip it. We're gonna dive in talking about guitars for vets as part of Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce arts month, right after this brief bumper, you are listening to Wisconsin veterans forward. Wisconsin's premier audio resource for veterans, military families, veteran own and veteran friendly businesses. Wisconsin veterans forward is brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of email@example.com . I can't believe we are , uh , like four office hours away from having a new intro and outro bumper , which I've started working on. It's gonna be a little shorter , uh , cuz if you notice viewing hours, especially on like YouTube after act , a lot of times when people get to the bumper, they're just like, I'm not gonna sit around for eight seconds. Let me just click off, go to the next thing. The bumper's gonna be way shorter. We've got some great footage from our events this year than I'm gonna put in there instead of generic stuff, looking for new music. I don't know if anybody has some royalty license, free stuff that they're willing to donate to us for the cause I don't don't know could be a good thing. Uh , instead of the generic that is could pump me up music though. Anyways, I love about that folks. Patrick is here and he's playing his guitar.Patrick Nettesheim, G4V:
Of course, that's all I do , Adam . That's all I do . And you know, I , I heard you on the intro saying, you're gonna ask me where we came from. I'm a middle aged man. And I still don't know where I came from. <laugh> what's going on here.Adam Braatz, WVCC:
<laugh> middle aged . You're seasonedPatrick Nettesheim, G4V:
That's coffee, man. These days I drink coffee from a Mason jar. <laugh> coffeeAdam Braatz, WVCC:
From a Mason jar. You hipster ,Patrick Nettesheim, G4V:
Um , I'm hip. But uh, you know, as far as the, now on the traditional sense of the term hipster, IAdam Braatz, WVCC:
Think, I think you're a hip guy, butPatrick Nettesheim, G4V:
You know, when I wanna look smart, he is put on my David Bowie glasses. I doAdam Braatz, WVCC:
Like those. You showed me those when we saw each other like a month ago and it was like that . They're totally you. I love it. So, so Patrick, you gotta tell me, tell everybody here, cuz I kind of know the story we've talked before. Mm-hmm <affirmative> where did guitars for vets come from you yourself did not serve from outside appearances. Here's this kind of just , uh, stare stereotyping . You know that he's got a ponytail, he's a hip dude. Well , so why guitars for vets? Where did that , where did that come from, man? Tell us about it. All right , Adam.Patrick Nettesheim, G4V:
Well , um, let's see. I decided I wanted to be rock star when I grew up, when I was about five years old and started playing guitar seriously about the age of 13. And um, by the time I got into college, the thought was, do I wanna go into medicine or do I wanna go into music? And uh, given the fact that at , um, I , I came from a place where they, they tracked students based on their socioeconomic status, whether to go to college or go work in the Foundry. Um, I decided to follow the musician's path. Uh , um , but I did go to school. I went to , uh, the walkie shark extension at the time and then whitewater for amount of time in Milwaukee. Um, but what , what that does that , that brings us way forward to years of playing guitar in, in various bands, jazz bands, rock bands, punk bands, country bands, rubber bands, you know, anything that , uh , would allow me to make noise and , and , uh, working probably about 40 different jobs, you know , including driving limousine, managing apartment buildings, being a painter refinishing furniture. I mean, whatever one needs to be able to support their music habit and back , uh, in 2006, a gentle came in to see me for a guitar lesson . So teaching guitar and , and playing and writing music had been the common thread through that time. Uh, his name Dan van busker , Dan served in 1968 and 69 first Marine recon in D name , Vietnam and Dan basically, you know, I , I , I don't always like telling a veteran's story for them . Mm-hmm <affirmative> but , uh , from my observation as a civilian, you know, dude survived apocalypse now, basically. Right . And , uh , you know, jungle warfare recon at that time was an insertion, an extraction. And all you had was the ammo you carried. So he carried ammo rather than water. Uh , they lost a lot of folks, you know, down in the, the low areas, the swamps to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, you know, it'd be 130 degrees wow . Humidity down there. So it wasn't a dry heat. And , uh , uh , so, but anyway , Dan came in for these lessons and it was, it was really cool for me because I went to high school in the 1980s. And, and you think about the time I was in high school, it'd been less than two , 10 years from when Vietnam ended. And we hadn't learned anything about Vietnam , uh, nor , um, you know, everything I learned about Korea, the Korean war came from mash , you know, everything I learned about world war II , John Wayne movies, 12 o'clock high and so forth. Right . You know, and , and um , so I know I'm digressing a little bit, but, but that's how we roll at him . <laugh> yeah, no, that's all relevant, man. I love it . You know, so , um , but so I got , uh , a, a, somebody who was there, somebody <affirmative> who actually experienced this, that was willing to talk about it. And on Dan's side of the equation, he had always lot to play guitar, but because of the challenges of post traumatic stress, it could be difficult for him to focus. Uh , there was a lot of, you know, anxiety around performing and just a , a , a thought that he, he wouldn't actually take this on because the , the fear of, of failure, and I've learned from , uh, many vets over the years, you know, what's your greatest fear and it isn't, it, you know, nobody likes the concept of, of dying, but it's the fear of failure because , uh, on the battlefield, if you fail <affirmative> in your assignment, then you have the potential of losing your brothers and sisters mm-hmm <affirmative> right. And I've seen that , uh, kinda wash itself over into other endeavors in life mm-hmm <affirmative>. So we had that interchange that , that , um , you know, really free , uh, sharing and, and the guitar itself can be very expressive. Uh, it really helped Dan, according to him, his testimonial with his symptoms of, of PTSD , cuz he could go home and you know, I'm teaching him how to fish, but he can fish himself and you , you know, nice E minor cord , the heavy metal cord <laugh> <laugh> and , and uh , but it's the first chord we teach generally. And it's very , um, soothing, introspective chord . Mm-hmm <affirmative>, <affirmative> some people think it's a sad chord. That's just cuz it's tapping into whatever's making them, you know, could be making them sad. Sure. You know , the interpretation is based upon wherever you are and it transcends , um, you know, the uh, the , the boundaries or the force field that we , that we put up and , and , and gets into that. So it helped Dan so much , uh, where if he woke up, you know, from a night terror or just had insomnia, you could go downstairs and strum the instrument , uh, that , uh, he felt we should go to the VA and play for are some of the men and women there. And this was in Milwaukee at Zablocki the spinal rehab department. This is what's so cool, Adam, cuz this is this whole Genesis thing , uh , of this organization. I stopped at cream city music where I was teaching guitar. That's where Dan was referred to me from. Yeah. Yeah. Uh , this would've been in spring of 2007 and the owner at the time, Joe Berger, his father had recently passed of complications due to war trauma from the Korean war. Oh wow. And Joe said, Hey man, that's great. You guys are going down there to play. Here's two guitars to give away. So just to give away , just to give away , I wanna do this in , in my father's honor. Well, the first thing we do is give away the instruments. These two guys, like I say lit up like a holiday. Yeah. Uh , getting them and uh , both of them had had one gen well actually both of them couldn't use their legs. They're both paras. Mm <affirmative> . And then there was some quad , uh , characteristics going on too. Sure. Mm-hmm <affirmative> it was obvious we had to teach 'em how to play. Yeah. Yeah. It'd just be a badge of honor hanging on the wall or under the bed, you know, in the closet worse . And the , um, it was obvious that, that the guitar, that catalyst for the positive human interaction, nursing staff said, come on back. We haven't seen these guys smile since they've been in here, they're being treated for MEA infections, which can take, you know, four to three weeks to clear and it's um, you know, it's, as far as recreation goes, it's not very fun . Yeah. Oh, I'd imagine. So having that instrument and, and having , uh , somebody show up, volunteer to share that with them and be there , uh, just to, just to help lift them up, you know, put some inspiration on that little spark that keeps them going , uh , was very profound. And Dan and I, within a couple days were meeting at my studio, which was my at , but I becomes a studio. Oh yeah.Adam Braatz, WVCC:
Throw an instrument in an attic, it's a studioPatrick Nettesheim, G4V:
And so , um, I said, you know what, Dan, I'm not, I mean, I'm already good at not making money. Why don't we make a nonprofit <laugh> and , and I said, how about guitars for vets? It's there, wasn't a lot of, you know, pets for vets, vans, for vets, vets, for vets, all the four vets things didn't theyAdam Braatz, WVCC:
Weren't around in , in at that time. Not so much. Yeah. You were one of the , one of the flagshipsPatrick Nettesheim, G4V:
There. Right. That's great. They , they are. And if , if they're really doing the good work , uh , so I Google searched it in quotes and the three words guitars, four vets did not come up once, according to the all scene Oracle. And yeah . Yep . 5 0 1 C3 put a board of directors together. And uh, you know, we've grown quite a bit since , andAdam Braatz, WVCC:
We're gonna talk about that growth on the very next episode of Wisconsin veterans forward. We'll see you over there. I'm not sure. Thank you for joining us on Wisconsin. Veterans forward brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. Please visit firstname.lastname@example.org . Read our blog, sign up for our newsletter and follow us across us . All social media platforms.