AP NEWS

Wounded Warrior Project helps injured veteran heal with art

April 8, 2019

More than half a million servicemen and women carry the physical and emotional wounds of recent military conflicts. Their new mission? Recovery.

Painting is one of the few ways Iraq War veteran Eric Edmundson can express himself. “His art work has been a tremendous therapeutic thing for him,” said Ed Edmundson, Eric’s father.

According to Ed Edmundson, in 2005, his son drove a military vehicle near the Syrian border. Then, there was an explosion.

“The vehicle was destroyed by an IED,” Ed Edmundson said. “And Eric sustained a traumatic brain injury.”

Later, the veteran also suffered a heart attack, depriving his already-damaged brain of oxygen. Ed Edmundson and his wife, Beth, said they will never forget their first sight of their son at Walter Reed Hospital.

“He was unrecognizable,” Ed Edmundson said. “His body was swollen.”

“You think he’s either going to come back or not come back, but to come back with a significant injury, that was a surprise for us,” Beth Edmundson said.

Eric Edmundson returned home to his wife and two young children facing a long road of recovery.

“He’s fought hard to get his life back,” Ed Edmundson said.

Through donations, the Wounded Warrior Project offers free assistance programs for injured veterans like Eric Edmundson, whose best medicine is a paintbrush.

A local artist from New Bern offered to teach Eric how to paint, and she said she could never have imagined the results and the difference it made in the lives of Eric Edmundson and his family.

His father said painting has helped Eric regain more function and purpose.

“He just keeps fighting,” Ed Edmundson said. “He gets better all the time, and who knows what the future brings him?”