Veterans take away lifelong memories from National Veterans Creative Arts Festival


Veterans from across the country have returned home after spending a week in Kalamazoo, Mich., not only showcasing their artistic talents, but creating lifelong memories at the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, co-presented by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Legion Auxiliary.

Veteran Kevin Dougherty

Each year, VA medical facilities all across the country play host to local veterans creative arts festivals, giving these heroes the chance to heal through expressing their talents in art, creative writing, dance, drama, and music. Select gold medal winners at the local level are chosen to move on to the national level.

U.S. Navy veteran Kevin Dougherty was first introduced to NVCAF in 2012. He was among those invited to participate this year to perform his singing talents.

He and his wife Janine drove from their home in Massachusetts to Michigan.

“It’s not like you’re here trying to say, ‘look at me.’ Nobody has that attitude,” Kevin said. “Everybody just wants to perform, and the love just comes. It’s a truckload of love.”

Kevin and Janine

Janine said the Festival changes how you interact with people.

“Everybody’s going through something, and all this talent — whether it’s singing, dancing, visual arts, or writing — it helps them get through whatever they’re going through,” she said.

Play your part in helping veterans like Kevin find healing through the creative arts by donating to the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation National/Local Veterans Creative Arts Festival(s).

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