JCMVAMC Veteran Wins First Place in National Veterans Creative Arts Competition - Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
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Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System

 

JCMVAMC Veteran Wins First Place in National Veterans Creative Arts Competition

A Veteran with art

Donald Johnson poses with his award winning artwork, “Squirrel Hunting: The Chieu Hoi Way.” Johnson won two first place awards and was invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, which will be held in Fayetteville, Ark. October 17-23.

By Nathan Schaeffer
Monday, June 27, 2011

Donald Johnson, a U.S. Air Force and Vietnam Veteran, won first place in two categories in the National Veterans Creative Arts competition.

VA facilities nationwide held local creative arts competitions in the spring and Veterans competed in 176 categories in visual and performing arts.  A national selection committee announced the first, second and third place winners on June 20 and invited approximately 130 first place winners to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, which will be held in Fayetteville, Ark. October 17-23.

Johnson, who volunteers two to three days a week at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center (JCMVAMC), won first place in the monochromatic drawing and colored drawing categories and was also invited to attend the national festival for the second consecutive year.

"It’s pretty exciting, particularly since both (of my entries) were selected,” said Johnson, who is also an Emeritus Professor from Emporia State University.  “I was hoping for only one of them and I was kind of surprised that both of them (won first place).”

Two other JCMVAMC Veterans also placed in the top three in the national competition.  Wanda Lockwood won third place in the combined kits category and Rhonda Akers won second place in the solo religious prose category and third place in the solo comedy category.

“You do things not to get a prize, but when you get a prize, it’s exciting,” said Akers, a U.S. Army Veteran.  “You have to win first place to get invited to the creative arts festival and I’ll just keep trying.”

Deborah Moreno, coordinator for the JCMVAMC Creative Arts Program, said she is proud of all the Veterans who participated in this year’s creative arts competition.

“The Creative Arts are very therapeutic for so many Veterans and a way to deal with issues that some Veterans experience,” she said.  “I look forward to continuing to expand the number of participants and hope more Veterans will be able to experience the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival.”

Nationwide, VA medical facilities use the creative arts as one form of rehabilitative treatment to help Veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities.

To learn more about the festival, visit the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival website: http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/caf/index.asp

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