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Veterans Art Show exhibits pride, honor

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"The Heroes Among Us," is this year's theme for the 16th Annual Veterans Creative ArtShow. The showcase allows veterans to use their creativity to portray their service and sacrifice.

Over the course of three days, the Agana Shopping Center once again played host to the 16th Annual Veterans Creative ArtShow sponsored by the Iraq Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific. Rodney Cruz, Jr. is the Chairman and Coordinator for this year's event. "It was to help veterans with post traumatic stress and it was a form of therapy we called it at the time- art plus healing...this is what it has developed into-paintings, carvings, and vocal artists as well," he said.

This is the tenth year that Cruz has been involved and says it all started with him wanting to stress the importance of PTSD awareness. "We have a lot of young vets and older veterans who are coming back from deployment and who are struggling and we want to give them an outlet to turn that negative energy into something positive," he said.

"One of the biggest things we've been struggling with over the years as a nation was suicide among veterans and service members and that's our goal here is to use this as an outlet and support our veterans," he said.

This year there were over 20 veterans who participated including singers  Candy Taman, Danny Orlino, and photographer Rueben Olivas, who shared, "It's an outlet for veterans to come and meet the public and the public gets to talk to them and interact and ask them about a lot of their craftsmanship."

Cruz is thankful for the continued support, especially from the Agana Shopping Center who has graciously offered up their center court every year. "It's a great turnout every year. We're just glad that the veterans continue and then continue to come out and support them and meet the veterans especially during Veterans Day," he said.

If any veterans would like to participate in next year's art show, stop by any of the three local VA offices in Asan, the Reflection Center in Agana, or in Tiyan for more information.

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