NORTH CANTON Music has been proven to have calming and even healing effects on listeners and those who play. A newly formed non-profit organization called Warrior Beat has been putting that theory to work by helping veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) play hand drums as a therapeutic activity.
PTSD suffers can experience a variety of symptoms such as anxiety, depression, anger, rage, substance abuse issues, feelings of worthiness or feelings of isolation. CEO and co-founder Trevor Meyer said the members of Warrior Beat get together and play drums to calm the effects of some of their symptoms. Meyer said there is research showing that playing drums can have immense therapeutic benefits.
His organization was showcased during a Drumming with Heroes event at the North Canton Public Library on Oct. 19.
"We are partnering with the largest percussion manufacturer in the world called Remo and they help us get hand drums for our members," Meyer said "I’ve been playing drums since I was four years old. I’m a U.S. Navy veteran and I’ve been hospitalized myself for alcohol and drug abuse issues. While I was in the VA Hospital in Cleveland, I began to realize there are very few alternative therapies available for veterans."
Meyer said the calming effective of drumming is backed by evidence showing it can be a solution for many of the PTSD symptoms. He spoke at the event that included presenting of the colors, the playing of taps and an auction of painted drums. The drums were painted by the veterans participating in the program. The monies raised from the auction went to Warrior Beat.
"There are many veterans here tonight that have found hope and healing through our drum program," Meyer said.
One veteran, Bob Withee, is 96 years old and served four years during World War II. Whithee was shot down four times in combat. Meyer and Withee met when Meyer brought a group from Warrior Beat drummers to Withee’s senior living facility.
"I always stop and listen when I hear someone playing drums and it’s good to hear so many men play in rhythm with each other," Withee said.
Withee was presented with a drum painted by local artist Terry Fairchild. It featured an image of the P-51 plane Withee flew in the war.
Christina Weyrick, community relations manager at the North Canton Public Library, said she and Keri Burick, outreach services manager, met Meyer at another event and started partnering with him to promote his program.
"Keri goes into many of the senior living facilities to bring books and other items and she realized there were many veterans living in the local facilities, she introduced the Warrior Beat program to a few of the facilities," Weyrick said. "It’s a great program and we wanted to help introduce it to the local community by hosting the event this evening. It’s a few weeks before Veteran’s Day so the timing is good. The library is planning to host a big event for veterans in 2018 and this was a nice way to get our feet wet for that event."
For more information about Warrior Beat, call Meyer at 330-685-2621, visit warriorbeat.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.