Northern Michigan in Focus: Veterans Creative Arts

The man you’re about to meet is a veteran with quite a story, and he wants to use his talents to help other vets.

Corey Adkins explains how in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

“Everybody has their own stories, and I have mine. I can talk about what I saw.”

Army veteran Bill Richards was in Desert Storm in the early ‘90s.

“When we were going through the Highway of Death, I don’t know if they have them or not, but there were bodies everywhere. The smell of death was unbearable and you can’t really get that out of your nose, and you don’t realize how fast life is over,” said Bill.

It’s a dark memory Bill’s had a hard time dealing with, but he’s finding a way.

“So even now, when I say what can I do, and I take that approach other veterans and what can I do to make their light shine, their life important, because life is so brief,” explained Bill.

He’s doing this by expressing himself. 

“It’s like a moment in time, whether you are drawing or music, and you can forget about everything else,” explained Bill. “You are building confidence in yourself, hey this looks good, this sounds good, so for that moment in time, whether a song or a drawing, nothing else exists except for you and that piece.”

And he’s also helping himself by helping other veterans with their demons.

“Because I know the struggle that they are with and I believe idle hands are the devil’s playground. I’m not opposed to people taking medication, but there are alternative methods to dealing, maybe put a guitar in their hands or a paintbrush, so that is my main drive. Can I help another veteran out?” said Bill.

Though he lives in Grand Rapids, Bill will help any vet that needs it.

“I have a Veterans Artists Musicians Facebook group, I go to a lot of veterans groups here locally and I spread the word. I am trying to find a place to rent where veterans can take it now and promote veterans in the creative arts. If you can draw, you can paint, we will support you, there might be other veterans out there that want to succeed,” said Bill. “You have to find a way to battle it and if that means to draw a flowers or draw, painting, you can at least say I felt this at the darkest point in my life and I created something that people like. I think that is realistic to what we always do during our darkest points in our lives is to create something beautiful out of it.”

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus