An amazing organization out of Nashville is using country music to heal, quite literally. A nonprofit called Operation Song pairs professional songwriters with veterans, active military members and their families. The goal? To help these military members tell their stories through the incredible power of music.
Many of the servicemen and women suffer from various battle-related afflictions, including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They don't need any musical experience whatsoever in order to participate. Only a desire to tell their story.
Bob Regan and Don Goodman founded Operation Song in 2012 as a way to use their talents to give back. Both Regan and Goodman enjoy success as Grammy-nominated songwriters with hundreds of cuts. Some artists who cut their songs include Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Alabama and even Roy Rogers.
Regan and Goodman also bring along a whole bunch of their talented songwriter friends. They hold weekly programs throughout six different Tennessee areas by partnering with different VA clinics. Veterans wrote at least 75 songs in 2017 alone.
But that's not all. Once veterans write songs, the organization takes them to some of Nashville's top studio musicians. They get together and record the songs in some of the top studios in town. And everybody donates their time to make it happen.
Many of the tunes go up online for all to hear (if the vet wants it to). But Operation Song also releases CDs and t-shirts, the proceeds from which all go towards furthering the organization's mission.
In some cases, veterans receive a recommendation from the VA doctors to join a songwriting session. In other cases, the participants come organically. But in every case, the goal is to help heal veterans still suffering from the effects of war. For some, the therapeutic songwriting process is literally a lifesaver.
"We're not therapists, so we kind of blow past the therapeutic boundaries in the first thirty minutes," laughs Regan in a Today segment. As the feature points out, 20 veterans take their own lives every day. For Regan, Goodman and the songwriters who donate their time, just knowing these veterans have an outlet they otherwise wouldn't is worth all the work.