Cheyenne veterans get hands-on at Warren Arts, Crafts Center

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dan Gage
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Airmen at Warren and veterans in the Cheyenne area find many ways to interact with each other throughout the year.

One opportunity for interaction is a regular visit to the Warren Arts and Crafts Center for residents at the Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Clinic.

"We open up the whole center to the veterans," said Larry Horsley, Arts and Crafts Center manager. "It's all voluntary for the veterans. We try to have them visit twice a month if there's enough interest."

With the whole center open to them, the choice of what to do is up to the veterans.

"If they choose to work in the wood crafts center they're free to work on their own projects," Horsley said. "On the multi-crafts side of the center we work in group settings, usually on projects aimed to enhance motor skills and themed around upcoming holidays."

One veteran who takes advantage of the trip across town is Jim Paxton, a Sydney, Neb., native who served in an engineering unit with the Army, and later worked as a building contractor.

Paxton uses the opportunity to start his bass wood sculptures on Warren's band saws, and other power tools, before taking them back to his wood shop at the VA.

A resident of the VA for almost 10 years, and having just celebrated his 90th birthday, Paxton said he still enjoys creating things with his hands. He also likes showing them to visitors, including Airmen who come to visit from Warren.

"I enjoy seeing people appreciate my work," Paxton said. "I really appreciate having people watch me work as well."

Over the years Paxton has created more than 50 pieces of work, ranging from figures of cowboys and soldiers, to flowers and even intricate chain links.

"Programs such as the Top 3 visits, where Airmen can come and interact with veterans like Mr. Paxton, hold a lot of value for us," said Andy Ruben, Cheyenne VA public affairs. "Our residents really enjoy these programs and any time there's an opportunity to interact with the base it's a win-win for all our veterans and those currently serving.

"There's a camaraderie which is evident immediately," he added.

There are many programs on base which enhance the lives of servicemembers, their families and retirees, and many have a lasting effect on those who take advantage.

"Our job here at the Arts and Crafts Center is to serve our servicemembers, veterans and their families," Horsley said. "This is one of the programs I'm really proud of."