Fear of Attack by North Korea Haunts Army Veteran but Arts and Crafts from Help Hospitalized Veterans Bring Relief

Apr 23, 2013, 16:28 ET from Help Hospitalized Veterans

WINCHESTER, Calif., April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Korean War veteran Raymond Bledsaw brought something back from his tour of duty—a constant fear of attack by North Korea.

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"The pressure of wondering if they would do something awful or not was always with me and it was no surprise; we had nine high alerts during the 13 months I was there," explained Bledsaw, who worked at a missile base near the 38th parallel; a base heavily monitored by the North Koreans.  "But it was more than that for those of us who served.  The threat was very real and the fear was every day and it has stayed with me ever since."

Following his discharge from the U.S. Army in 1978, Bledsaw returned to Alaska, and right away he knew something was wrong.  "I was home, but the fear was still there.  I couldn't shake it; it took over my entire being."

Bledsaw sought treatment from the VA to help him with his anxiety.  "I was always interested in woodworking, and when I saw the craft kits donated by Help Hospitalized Veterans I decided to give one a try.  I finished the kit about a week later, and the way it turned out made my self-esteem go way up," he said.  "Not only did I create something nice, it made me feel like I could still be productive.  And most importantly, when I'm working on a craft kit, the stress inside releases—it just melts away."

Bledsaw created beautiful wooden baskets over the years, often giving them as gifts to friends and relatives.  "I'm very grateful that there are Americans who donate to the Help Hospitalized Veterans craft kit program," he said.

And recently, Bledsaw received what he said was "great news" about being accepted into Help Hospitalized Veterans' (HHV) Patient Home Rehabilitation (PHR) program which will allow him to receive his arts and crafts kits directly at home.  When he was informed about being accepted into the PHR program, Bledsaw told HHV, "You can't believe how happy this makes me."

Since its inception in 1971, HHV has donated over 28 million arts and craft kits—free of charge—to VA and military hospitals worldwide.  "The Patient Home Rehabilitation program makes it so much more convenient for veteran patients to receive the therapeutic arts & craft they need to support their rehabilitation," said Chrissy Sarvela, HHV's PHR coordinator.  For more information about HHV visit hhv.org or call (888) 567-VETS.

Frank Cimorelli

SOURCE Help Hospitalized Veterans