Veteran's Stories: Stacey Williams November 14, 2016 09:12

Every year on November 11th, America honors the nation’s veterans on Veterans Day. There are 21.8 million veterans in the US, roughly 7% of the population, according to the 2014 Census Bureau. Sadly, often times the horrors of war follow the veterans home. More than 20% of troops who served in Iraq or Afghanistan have come home with PTSD, and 12% of America’s homeless are veterans. Art, for these veterans, is a place of refuge.

For me, Veterans Day is a time to say thank you for your service to other veterans. Hearing someone thank me for my service is deeply humbling.

I was a lab specialist stationed at Howard Air Force Base in Panama. My specialized training, after basic training, was lengthy. I was stationed at Shepard Air Force Base in Texas for technical training, and then at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland for on the job training. I served in Panama for two years, but eventually had to leave because I was very sick with pre-eclampsia and hypermesis gravidarum. There was no proper treatment at the base, and my health was deteriorating.

I worked for ten years at Harvard University, but was laid off during the recession. I spent months job searching in a city that was empty of jobs. I needed an outlet. Art became that outlet for me. I used some of my severance funds to take a beginners acrylic class and haven't stopped painting since. After that, I taught myself to paint portraits. It's still helping me as I continue to face the search for housing.

I continued to struggle with my health. I was diagnosed with avascular necrosis in 2014, and found out I required hip surgery. At the same time, I found myself without a job again. I decided to make use of that time, and began attending open studio art sessions in the shelter I stayed at.

ArtLifting is everything and a blessing. It’s an option I never knew I could have, and a saving grace. My art saved me and ArtLifting backed it up.

By Stacey Williams

Learn more about Stacey here