The Impact of The Arts for a Local Veteran

According to Gerald Dodson, “Life is an adventure.”

This Army veteran served in both Korea and Vietnam and was promoted to Army Sergeant after 2 years of service.  Upon returning stateside, Dodson went to college at Davenport University and then went on to receive his Master’s from Central Michigan University.  His 30-year work history with the U.S. Department of Defense garnered him 15 awards!

Gerald says, “Life is an adventure … it’s like being in a movie.” As an Army Sergeant, it was Dodson’s responsibility to protect his platoon.  That meant entering dangerous situations ahead of his platoon.  He recalls one particular incidence where upon entering a building, the walls collapsed around him, thereby virtually burying him alive.  Thankfully, Dodson lived to tell that story; but returned home from the war in December of 1968 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Upon returning to civilian life, Gerald attended a year of vocational workshop services where he learned the art of jewelry making. Dodson said that he has always been a creative person – recognizing problems and coming up with creative solutions – but this type of creativity was different.  This art therapy has helped him in dealing with his PTSD.  Now, more than 40 years later, Gerald not only continues to make beautiful jewelry, but he has also written over 40 songs and has executive produced a CD.  Currently, Dodson is the director of the Armed Forces Radio Network; which can be heard on 1,000 stations in 175 countries.  He has been hosting his own talk show for the past 3 years; and receives email from around the globe.  Gerald’s final goal:  to write a book.

When asked what he would tell others about the benefit of the arts, Dodson remarked, “Art makes the world a brighter place. Art cheers people up and makes people smile.  Art creates memories.  Art helps us to work together; and it teaches us to help one another.  Art brings joy to our world.”  Gerald has visited The Village Theater several times and considers it a good community venue.  He believes the future Village Arts Factory is “the right thing to do” because it will bring pottery, woodworking, painting, drawing, music, art and crafts, and so much more to our area.  “When you do good in this world, the good will come back to you.” – words according Dodson … words to live by!

 

Testimonial written by Jill Engel, Executive Director – Partnership for the Arts & Humanities