You may have heard of Hunter Wolkonowski, or better yet Hunter Girl, for her time on American Idol 2022.

Prior to reaching success on the popular singing competition, Hunter Girl, a native of Winchester, Tennessee, impacted the lives of Veterans at the Chattanooga Vet Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System and various retreats as a volunteer with Freedom Sings USA.

Freedom Sings USA pairs award winning songwriters with Veterans who tell their stories, the ones they usually cannot express to others. They help organize their thoughts and put them to music. Freedom Sings USA is an official affiliated organization with the VA Center for Development and Civic Engagement (CDCE) in North Little Rock. They have organized chapters in Tennessee, Arkansas and Colorado – with more proposed.

Hunter Girl singing

When speaking to Veterans, Hunter says, “Your voice matters.”

Virtual class of “Trailblazers”

Since 2018, Hunter Girl has conducted these services in person and has established her own virtual all-female Veteran group. The first song she wrote for this group was titled, “Trailblazers.” The women decided to name the virtual class, The Trailblazers, and she has since worked with 50 to 60 female Veterans.

Veterans describe Hunter Girl as sweet, humble and talented because she can take their story and make it into a great song, while being sympathetic to their experiences.

Allows Veterans to heal

“The impact Hunter and the other songwriters have made on Veterans is amazing,”  said Michael Dobbs, CDCE chief. “There are so many stories of triumph that Veterans want to share but don’t know how to properly express them. This allows them to put it in song and allows Veterans to begin to heal or continue to heal in some cases.”

Anyone interested in volunteering or donating to support this program are encouraged to visit Volunteer.VA.Gov. Veterans interested in joining to share their military story and learning more about Freedom Sings may visit Contact – Freedom Sings USA.

By Wesley R. Walls is a communication specialist at VA's Center for Development & Civic Engagement

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Published on Jun. 26, 2022

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