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Guitars for Vets, a Kenosha nonprofit, rocks the Summerfest stage

Posted at 5:39 PM, Sep 11, 2021

MILWAUKEE — On Military appreciation day at Summerfest, some Veterans got on the Generac Stage to play a two hour set.

The performers were all part of the nonprofit, Guitars for Vets. It's a Kenosha based organization that gives veterans free guitars and lessons as a form of therapy.

"The guitar resonates in the center of your being, and it's very soothing," Patrick Nettesheim, the co-founder of Guitars for Vets, said.

Nettesheim isn't a veteran but believes that giving veterans this form of therapy is important to creating "world peace."

“And we’re going to give them a voice. A voice that doesn’t have to be spoken. One that can be created through that of the guitar.”

So far, 6,000 veterans have gone through the program. Some of them were playing alongside Nettesheim during this two hour Summerfest set.

“You see a lot of terrible things and terrible nightmares so you try to put it away," Pet Ruzicka, the President of Guitars for Vets, said.

Ruzicka played on stage, and said it was a wonderful experience. He spent 24 years in the military working in Grenada, to Germany, to Iraq. For him, and many others, this program has helped him cope and talk about his experiences.

“And then you start the camaraderie you develop with others. They are trying to either learn or doing the same thing," Ruzicka said.

To be able to perform at Summerfest was just the icing on the cake. Guitars for Vets currently has around 5,000 applicants waiting for a guitar and lesson. Patrick Nettesheim hopes performances like these can help raise awareness and give more veterans the therapy tools they need.

Guitars for Vets takes both financial donations and guitar donations. So if you have a guitar laying around the house that isn't being played and want to donate it, go to their website to learn more.

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