SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — Music is making a difference for some veterans across the United States thanks to a non-profit organization.

Guitars 4 Vets offers veterans peace of mind through free guitar lessons. The Shreveport Chapter has been in the area for about a year and a half, and it is held at the American Legion Post 14.

Carl Townley is the Shreveport Chapter Coordinator for Guitars 4 Vets. He says to attend veterans must be recommended by the United States of Veteran Affairs or mental health experts.

“As long as we find out the person has a PTSD diagnosis, some type of anxiety like that, we’ll put them through the program, and they get ten free lessons and after they get a brand-new guitar,” Townley said.

Townley’s lessons involve three or fewer students at one time. He says he’s seen nothing but positive impacts for the veterans he’s taught.

“I’ve seen people that have come through the program that wouldn’t get out of the house, unless they came to our program and it kind of helped open up the door and now I see them out and about more than just our lessons and things like that.”

Tim Sloan has served in the air force for 22 years. He just graduated from the Guitar’s 4 Vets Program. 

“I have PTSD and I’ve got issues from Iraq, and I was also in Kosovo, Panama, and I’ve seen a lot of things and just been struggling with that,” Sloan said.

Through the music, Sloan has learned to push through trials and tribulations. 

“It brings me back to my center and it makes me focus a little bit more and just calms me down.”

For the veterans, it’s more than just music. It’s therapy. 

“Not only is the sound calming, but also the fact that you’re holding this guitar against your body. It’s almost like a security. This thing becomes a security blanket,” Townley said.

To donate or to learn more about this organization, you can visit the Guitars 4 Vets website.