Local vets place in national arts competition

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Winners for the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival (NVCAF) were recently announced and four local Veterans were among the winners.

One of those winners was Daniel Huneycutt, a 89-year-old Navy Veteran, who warmed hearts at the local Creative Arts Festival held in March 2014 with his humorous personal experience essay, "If You Want to Marry a Girl Why Don't You Ask Her?" His reflection of how he popped the question to his wife of now 70 years impressed the NVCAF judges, and he was awarded first place.

Huneycutt , a current resident of the Community Living Center at the Salisbury VAMC, has always had the gift of the gab, according to his daughter, Linday Huneycutt.

"I remember as a little girl watching daddy at the pulpit preaching his sermon. His message would come alive with colorful stories," she said. "Many times he would laugh so hard that the congregation laughed along with him."

Krickit Shoemaker, who represented the Salisbury VA Medical Center at the 2013 National Creative Arts Festival, proved to be a contender again this year, winning two national titles.

Shoemaker earned a second place medal for her flute instrumental jazz/rhythm and blues solo of "Bouree," and third place for the inspirational instrumental solo, "God of Our Fathers."

Jessica House earned third place recognition for her inspirational poem, "Fading Love," which depicts the emotional ties that survive the challenges presented when a loved one encounters dementia.

In the musical performances, Diana Stine secured a third place win with her mountain dulcimer folk/bluegrass instrumental solo, "Old Joe Clark."

The NVCAF is the culmination of talent competitions in art, creative writing, dance, drama and music for Veterans treated in the Department of Veterans Affairs national health care system.

VA medical facilities incorporate creative arts into their recreation therapy programs to further the rehabilitation milieu for both inpatients and outpatients. This annual competition recognizes the progress and recovery made through that therapy, and raises the visibility of the creative achievements of our Nation's Veterans after disease, disability or life crisis.

The Recreation Therapy Department, together with the North Carolina American Legion Auxiliary, invites all Veterans receiving inpatient or outpatient care to compete in the 2015 local creative arts festival, scheduled for March 14, 2015.

For more information about the next local creative arts festival, contact Terri Gilbeau at (704) 638-9000, ext. 3575 or Jenny Taylor at ext. 3065.