“You can take the warrior out of the war…We take the war out of the warrior.”
These 17 words represent a mantra for U.S. Army Veteran and VA North Texas patient Marcus Dees—words he painstakingly used yarn and hooks to translate into a work of art.
“This is what the VA does and what they are helping me with,” said Dees. “It’s not just the war from combat, it could be from any trauma or any demon we are fighting with and they are certainly showing me how to battle that.”
Ten years ago, Dees found himself with a lot of extra time on his hands. He started crocheting as a hobby. For Dees, crocheting kept his mind and hands busy.
“I learned how to crochet from my roommate,” said Dees. “He taught me how to read patterns and after that it was really a lot of practice and muscle memory.”
Artwork, in any form, helps heal the wounds of war. It also enables patients to translate life experiences into a tangible format.
Dees spent four weeks and approximately 40 hours to complete his project. It has caught the attention of people around him. Several Veterans have approach Dees wanting to learn how to crochet and he says he is happy to show them.
“When our patients engage in a work of art, they give something of ourselves,” said Alicia Wright, interim Bonham Domiciliary chief. “It lets them identify and let loose some of the pain and display some of their happiness.”
After Dees moved out and no longer lived with his roommate, he stopped crocheting and didn’t start again until coming to the Bonham Domiciliary.
Thankfully it was easy to pick it back up again.
“When I’m crocheting, I’m not thinking about anything else, which is good,” said Dees. “The staff here at the domiciliary are incredible and are really helping me. They have shown and proven more than once that they actually do care. They care about my future and they care about my mental health.”
Wright said Dees impressed the staff with his talents.
“Dees is a diligent student and clearly a master at this craft,” said Wright. “It’s always neat to see peoples hidden talents.”
Dees’ artwork will be on display at the Bonham Domiciliary at Sam Rayburn Memorial VA for all Veterans and employees to see.
“It’s a wonderful reminder of why we come to work each day,” said Wright.
Jennifer Roy is a public affairs specialist for VA North Texas Health Care System.