Veterans graduate guitar class in Poplar Bluff

Today they walked away with a certificate and new skills.
Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 9:53 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2022 at 3:41 AM CDT
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POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - Monday was special day for a group of veterans in Poplar Bluff.

They walked away with a certificate and new skills.

Some have new goals they want to accomplish, thanks to a guitar class.

“If I can learn, anybody can,” said Army veteran Norman Davis.

Davis served two years in the Army and wanted to learn to play guitar all his life.

“I just kept putting it off, all the time,” Davis said.

Then, he saw John J. Pershing VA Medical Center was offering a guitar class.

“I think I was about the first one who called and I said I’m going to try that,” he said.

The instructor and Marine Corps veteran, Lee Willard, said he originally planned to teach three chords, but it ended up being more.

“By the third week they had three chords down and 7 chords is what they learned through the six week group so they far exceeded my expectations,” Willard said.

As the last class ended on Monday, Willard and the veterans celebrated with a graduation ceremony.

Each veteran walked away with a certificate in one hand and a guitar in the other.

“A lot of generous people in the community has donated guitars and amps and other things to these veterans,” Willard said.

John Washburn said he enjoyed the class so much, he plans to use his new skills to teach other veterans in southeast Missouri.

“Music’s a big influence on my life, I started when I was sixteen. I think its going to be a very good enjoyable time. There’s no better comradery and the feeling of actual safety and acceptance being with your brother veterans,” Washburn said.

Davis said it’ll take some time, but he’s determined to become a better guitar player.

“I’m gonna pick this guitar and I’m gonna lay it on Lee and if anybody throws me out of any place for picking a guitar I’ll say you can blame Lee for it,” he said.

Willard plans to teach a couple more guitar classes this year.

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