Forged in fire: Glassblowing classes give veterans chance to gather, heal

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After the ravages of war, the road to recovery can take many twists and turns for some of our veterans. But sometimes old wounds can be healed with a helping hand.

The ancient art of glassblowing is helping vets re-adjust to a life no longer in the line of fire.

Operation: Art of Valor is presented by The Morean Arts Center and Haley VA Hospital. This community arts program is offered to military patients and veterans. 

"They come in, it's a chance to work together,” explained Andrew Williamson, an instructor in the program who himself is a veteran.

Designed to improve social interaction by building teamwork and confidence, the program's therapeutic approach seems to be working.

"It's amazing. You get guys that have never blown glass, never touched it. And now they come in, they're making small vessels, different forms, different shapes," Williamson continued.

But the program is not without some challenges. 

"We've got one individual who's in a wheelchair, so trying to get everything comfortable for him to where he can make a piece, sometimes we have to think outside the box," offered Jeff Cadwell, a veteran and participant.

Williamson believes that because of Operation: Art of Valor, hands that once held weapons now hold hope of better days ahead. “It's a chance to help some other guys and gals. To give back and be exposed to the art that is the Morean."

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