Saturday, February 18, 2017

Operation Song Helps Veterans Change Conversation About PTSD

Pensacola veterans finding healing through song
Charlotte Observer
BY MELISSA NELSON GABRIEL
The Pensacola News-Journal
February 18, 2017

PENSACOLA, FLA.
Nashville songwriter Bob Regan has written hit songs for well-known stars including Keith Urban, Trisha Yearwood and Tanya Tucker.

But those songs aren't the ones that have meant the most to the Grammy-nominated artist.

Regan is proudest of dozens of songs that will likely never become mainstream hits — songs of pain and loss written by combat veterans through Operation Song, a nonprofit organization he created to connect veterans with professional songwriters.

"The veterans bring the stories and we bring the songwriting experience. All of the songwriters we use are pros who have been at this for many years and decades. We sit in a room together, listen to their stories, pick out pieces and make it rhyme," he said.

"It can be very therapeutic. If your emotions and your experiences are scrambled from trauma, sometimes it is difficult to put things in their proper perspective and to sort them out. Through songwriting, the jumble of feelings gets a beginning, an end, a resolution."

The result is a song like Fight For Me, written by Tim Chandler, a Pensacola-area Marine veteran who survived an IED blast during combat in Iraq. Regan and award-winning songwriter Don Goodman helped Chandler come up with the emotional song that tells the story of his return from war, subsequent divorce and difficult child custody battle.
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