Center opens to give vets place to heal

BERWYN – Not all medicine comes in a bottle or leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV), a national nonprofit, has been providing another prescription in the form of arts and crafts kits, almost 29 million to date, to U.S. military patients worldwide.

There’s good news for Berwyn area veterans. HHV not only offers something to do, it’s now offering a place to do it.

Officials gathered Sept. 25 for the grand opening of the new Community Based Arts And Crafts Center (CBC), Suite B, 6243 W. 26th St.

While HHV’s Patient Home Rehabilitation (PHR) program sends arts and craft kits directly to veterans, the CBC program offers veterans a group setting and a place to go and work on their arts and crafts projects.

HHV National Special Events Liaison Frank Cimorelli said center locations are determined through market research on veteran populations in the area, as well as data from the organization’s patient home program.

“We’re excited about it being opened,” Cimorelli said. “Our three craft care specialists will be working with the veterans in the center and doing outreach in the community.”

Those craft care specialists are Christine Krumsee, Rose Schmidt and Mea Leber.

Cimorelli added that veterans need not be hospitalized to receive the benefits of the program. The only prerequisite is they are honorably discharged and receiving health care.

HHV President and CEO Mike Lynch stated in a news release that the Berwyn facility is one of the first opened.

“We wish to reach more patients by offering therapeutic arts and crafts kits to all veteran and military medical patients receiving any kind of health care,” Lynch said.

“This will open the HHV program to all of the nation’s veterans, regardless of where they presently receive their healthcare. It’s a huge undertaking for HHV, but one we are committed to.”

Cimorelli came to Berwyn earlier this month to prepare for the grand opening of the Berwyn facility, and became a fan.

“That’s my kind of town,” he said. “I’m from back East and any chance I get to come to Chicago and the South Side is a thrill. We’re excited to be there and helping out. We look forward to serving a lot of veterans.”

More information is available at 888-567-8387 or HHV.org.