GoodGuys Car Show
Strumming for Vets, a charitable organization that teaches disabled
veterans how to play guitar, will make an exclusive live appearance
at the 17th Summer Get-Together June 5 & 6 at the Pleasanton
Fairgrounds. Based right here in the Bay Area, the Strumming for
Vets ensemble will perform live acoustic music sets both Saturday
from 1-3pm and Sunday from 2-3pm at the entertainment stage.
Founded by veteran John Rola of San Jose, Strumming for Vets
provides acoustic guitars, gives them to disabled veterans then
teaches them how to play by providing lessons. With donated guitars
and teachers donating their time, the vets are given a new type of
therapy that works wonders! Once they’re playing guitar at a high
level, the group performs at public venues such as the Summer
The group will have tee shirts and hats available for purchase at
the event. The funds generated from their merchandise sales goes
directly towards the purchase of guitars for the disabled vets. Come
out and hear some great music and support a wonderful local program!
From Blue Star Moms
We had over 400 Veterans in attendance and more than 400 community members there to honor these veterans. There was a huge flag hoisted far above the ground at the entrance to the venue by the local Fire Department, there was live music by Strumming for Vets, a group of Veterans learning to play the guitar...WOW, were they great! This was their first public performance and you would have thought they were professionals, good job guys! We had a wonderful escort provided by Warrior Watch Riders, the PGR and others along with the Northern California Corvette Association for the Veterans who attended from the VA hospital from Livermore.
From the Los Gatos Weekly Times
'Strumming for Vets'By Judy Peterson
Los Gatos Weekly-Times
About four months ago, John Rola launched a nonprofit program called "Strumming for Vets" that finds him visiting the VA Hospital in Palo Alto at least once a week.
"I give the guys guitar's and guitar lessons," Rola said. "It takes them back to a time when they weren't wounded. I had one guy whose leg was amputated on a Monday and he was there for a lesson on Wednesday." Rola gives interested vets a guitar and also supplies them with any equipment they might need.
To that end, he has solicited donations and support from the Guitar Hospital in Los Gatos, San Jose's Guitar Showcase and C.B. Perkins Guitar Shop, along with Yamaha and a Mel Bay Publishing company.
Rola says music has always been a big part of his life. He did, after all, grow up "just down the street" from Motown Records and played catch with Marvin Gaye and other big-name Detroit wheels. Those experiences taught Rola that people always relate to music, no matter what life throws at you.
"Some of the guys in the VA now are pretty messed up," Rola said. "But I can see the good that's happening to them. I want them to forget their wounds. If I can get that from the guys, that's all I want to accomplish." Rola gives both group and individual lessons to vets of all ages.
"Some of the guys have been in the VA for years," he said. "I had a WW II vet, but he became too sick to play. I don't care if I have to hold their hands on the guitar — if it gives them peace for an hour that's what I want to do." The organization's motto is, "The gift of music at the fingertips of our vets." Rola has found that helping his fellow veterans has a silver lining. For while he is trying to bring a little joy to veterans' lives, Rola finds himself transported back to his own pre-war life that is filled with memories of old movies, old cars and old girlfriends.