Suffering Vietnam Veteran Finds Comfort in Arts & Crafts

Jun 05, 2013, 21:14 ET from Help Hospitalized Veterans

WINCHESTER, Calif., June 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Frank Koch has been living with chronic pain from illness and injury incurred while serving in Vietnam.


"I was exposed to Agent Orange," said Koch.

"Agent Orange was a chemical used to kill dense vegetation to make it harder for the enemy to hide.  Unfortunately for me and many others there, the chemical was dumped on us as well," Koch added.  After serving twelve years, Koch received a medical retirement.

"I have many health problems – Lupus, MS, and a degenerative bone condition just to name a few."  The nature of Koch's illness makes it difficult for him to perform even the simplest daily tasks such as dressing and eating.

Koch receives his health care at the VA medical center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  "I have only good things to say about the care I receive through VA," he said.  It was there at VA that Koch was introduced to the therapeutic benefits – both physical and mental – of working on arts and crafts.

"I've completed dozens of craft kits over the years," Koch stated.  "Without those kits, I wouldn't be able to use my hands," he added.

"I have several devices to help with my daily living activities, but because of the chronic nature of my illnesses, using them can be extremely difficult," said Koch.  "But working on arts & crafts keeps my joints moving, otherwise I lose the ability to use my hands completely," he said.

Koch emphasized that the use of Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) arts & crafts kits help his ability to take care of himself, increasing his self-esteem.

"I used to feel useless, but when I see my creations, it makes me feel good about myself."

Koch also expressed his appreciation for the craft kits.  "I'm so grateful to the people who donate towards these kits.  They've made a world of difference in my life."  Koch said the kits are now helping him in another powerful way.

"I'm now a chaplain at the New Mexico State Veterans Home in Truth or Consequences," he stated.  "If it were not for the kits, I wouldn't have the manual dexterity in my hands to turn the pages of my Bible," he said.  "And now with HHV's Patient Home Rehabilitation (PHR) program, it's easier for me to get my kits because they're sent directly to my home."

Since 1971, HHV has provided – free of charge – over 28 million therapeutic arts & crafts kits to veteran and military patients worldwide.  For information on HHV products and services, or to inquire about the PHR program visit or call toll-free 888-567-VETS (8387), ext. 112.

Frank Cimorelli

SOURCE Help Hospitalized Veterans