My name's Rich Meijer.
In the summer of 2016, I walked into our local Vet Center in White River Junction, Vermont, and began playing my Taylor acoustic guitar (pictured here) for the staff and Vets.
I was inspired and went back many times. I found a way to say thank you without words. I asked the question "What if Veterans could heal themselves through music, and what if it was as simple as two acoustic guitars into Vet Centers?"
I created Stars, Stripes, and Strings and, we ran a successful GoFundMe campaign, thanks to many generous donors, and a $1,000 "GoBeyondGiving" award from GoFundMe,
and thanks some help from our musician friends Brothers Band Together, we raised enough to purchase six brand new Taylor guitars, and donated them to three Vet Centers in Vermont and New Hampshire.
pictured here: Rich Meijer purchasing six new Taylor acoustic guitars from Ben Salomon, owner of Northern Lights Music in Littleton, NH
Valley News - Sunday Times featured article
pictured here: Mark Roberts, Director of the White River Junction, VT Vet Center receiving a new Taylor guitar from Rich Meijer
Jay Sprinkle, Director of the Berlin, NH Vet Center receiving a new Taylor guitar from Rich Meijer
Marie Milord, Director of the S. Burlington Vet Center receiving a new Taylor guitar from Rich Meijer
Thank you to Maria Freddura, owner of Bentley's Restaurant in Woodstock, Vermont and her crew, for being gracious enough to host our first benefit concert. It was a great evening of music, and an opportunity to honor our Veterans.
Also, thank you to Andrew Schain, owner of Public House Restaurant in Quechee, and his crew for hosting succesful subsequent benefit concerts for this cause.
A very special thank you to Friends of Veterans for sponsoring our first GoFundMe campaign - they do great work!
The first guitar lesson took place at the White River Junction Vet Center with local musician Jonas Sabatini donating his time and talents.
In the fall of 2017, we ran another successful GoFundMe campaign and purchased two more brand new Taylor acoustic guitars for the Manchester, NH Vet Center.
and one from Manchester Music Mill in Manchester, NH .
The Manchester Community Music School has also begun donating their time and talents to teach lessons and music therapy at the Manchester Vet Center as a result of our campaign.
Lessons and music therapy now take place at all four Vet Center locations.
Lessons and music therapy were now taking place at all four Vet Centers with local musicians and therapists from the community, donating their time. The White River Junction Vet Center has an average of 10 performers per week, and now people are showing up just to listen...
Stars Stripes and Strings, is on a mission to donate brand new acoustic guitars to every Vet Center into the United States, building communities while bringing Veterans, and civilians together to heal through music.
Photos by Nancy Nutile-McMenemy (www.photosbynanci.com)