Guitars for Vets: Healing Invisible Wounds of War Through Music & Pet Companions with Dan Van Buskirk

Dan Van Buskirk is a former Reconnaissance Marine who has served his country during the Vietnam War. For several years, Dan has worked with veteran outreach efforts to help military veterans develop healthy coping skills and heal from post-war trauma, PTSD, and combat-related anxiety. He is the founder of HAVEN – Hounds and Vets Empowered Now – a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing support to veterans in the mutually beneficial relationships forged with dogs. Dan is also an active member of Guitars For Vets, a non-profit organization helping veterans cope with combat-related PTSD through the healing power of music and community.

Dan joins us today to share why he decided to join the military and his experiences while serving in the Vietnam War. He shares his experiences as a child growing up with an abusive mother and how these experiences helped him develop the survival skills he’d need on the battlefield. He shares how his spiritual beliefs and devotion to God helped him cope with trauma. He discusses why it took over two decades to seek help for his post-combat PTSD, why it was challenging to find help sooner, and how reaching out and connecting to other veterans was the turning point in his healing process. He also shares the Guitars for Vets and HAVEN missions and how they help veterans cope with PTSD through the power of music and pet companions.

“If we’re playing a note that’s not harmonious on the guitar, we don’t sit around and act like victims or feel sorry for ourselves. We just simply change the placement of our hand on our chords and we have harmony. It’s the same thing with the work that we do inside of ourselves.”

Dan Van Buskirk

DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban & Bob Bach, are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.