Guitars for Vets graduates another guitarist

After 10 weeks of customized one-on-one lessons, John Blackwell graduated from his Guitars for Vets instructional course and was awarded a new Yamaha acoustic guitar. Instructor Nancy Raven reports that John was a great student and did his homework between weekly lessons. Blackwell enjoyed the experience and recommends that other local veterans consider participating in the program.

According to local chapter coordinator, Gary B. Swift, Gardnerville has the first G4V chapter in the state of Nevada. The chapter is based at the VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic next to Lampe Park. There is now a second chapter at the VA Medical Center in Reno.

Our students are veterans who are referred to us through the VA system; explained Swift. We report to Joanne Farris, Director of Recreation Therapy for the VA’s Sierra Nevada Health Care System, and work closely with Christy Raynes who manages the Gardnerville CBOC, he added. Music is good for everyone, he concluded. And this is especially true for Veterans who have experienced stress from being exposed to war.

The organization is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 2007. It currently operates more than 80 chapters in 40 states with the assistance more than 200 volunteers nationwide. They have an informative 4-minute YouTube video called Guitars for Vets: Danny’s Story, that gives an overview of the program.


1. Instructors

The Gardnerville chapter now has three well-qualified instructors, so we are equipped to accommodate the anticipated demand for lessons through our local CBOC, explained Swift. It would be nice to eventually add a fourth instructor to give us a little more depth on the bench.

2. Guitars

We have enough donated guitars to cover our need for loaner instruments for our students to use. But if you have a playable guitar that you aren’t using, consider donating it to G4V. We sell donated instruments as part of our fundraising efforts.

3. Financial Contributions

Anyone who would like to make a monetary contribution can go to the website for the national organization, or click the Donate button on the Facebook page for our Gardnerville chapter.

For more information contact Gary B. Swift, Gardnerville chapter coordinator, for information about the local chapter.

Source: Staff Reports, Record Courier, February 23, 2019

Guitars for Vets