OVERLAND PARK, Kan.—A Kansas program that started out as a way to donate instruments to low income kids is now expanding, teaming up with a Nashville woman who is sending donated guitars to troops serving in war zones overseas.
One of the first donated guitars came from a Kansas woman who used that guitar while she was serving her country 42 years ago.
"Music is very therapeutic, particularly in a war zone," Louise Eisenbrandt said. "That's a way of forgetting what's going on."
Eisenbrandt was an Army nurse in Vietnam in 1969. She says you often had to make up your own entertainment and she was thrilled when someone bought her a guitar. She played for fun and she played for her patients.
"I played guitar every single day and it was a way to forget the trials and tribulations of the day," Eisenbrandt said.
So when she heard about the <a href="http://www.guitars4troops.com">Guitars for Troops</a> program, she immediately dug into her closet. Her old guitar is now on its way to a base in Afghanistan.
"It brought a lot of joy to my life and wasn't doing any good sitting in the closet," she said.
Harold Frye started collecting donated instruments two years ago after starting the charity <a href="http://music4jeremyscherubs.com">Music for Jeremy's Cherubs</a>. His son Jeremy wanted to teach music to kids, but died of a brain tumor at age 23.
"We look for things that are not being used and someone wants to bring a new life to that instrument and give someone else joy," Frye said.
He's now collecting guitars and sending them to military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan as a part of the Guitars for Troops program.
He, too, was in Vietnam in 1969.
"I know what soldiers go through, I know what loneliness they have," Frye said. "They're not on duty all the time and what do they do with their time otherwise."
"I think that's the best I can hope for," Eisenbrandt said. "It will lift the spirits of someone as it lifted my spirits as I played it."