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Strumming for Vets, a charitable organization that teaches disabled veterans how to play guitar, will make an exclusive live appearance at the 17th Summer Get-Together June 5 & 6 at the Pleasanton Fairgrounds. Based right here in the Bay Area, the Strumming for Vets ensemble will perform live acoustic music sets both Saturday from 1-3pm and Sunday from 2-3pm at the entertainment stage.

Founded by veteran John Rola of San Jose, Strumming for Vets provides acoustic guitars, gives them to disabled veterans then teaches them how to play by providing lessons. With donated guitars and teachers donating their time, the vets are given a new type of therapy that works wonders! Once they’re playing guitar at a high level, the group performs at public venues such as the Summer Get-Together.

The group will have tee shirts and hats available for purchase at the event. The funds generated  from their merchandise sales goes directly towards the purchase of guitars for the disabled vets. Come out and hear some great music and support a wonderful local program!




From Blue Star Moms


We had over 400 Veterans in attendance and more than 400 community members there to honor these veterans. There was a huge flag hoisted far above the ground at the entrance to the venue by the local Fire Department, there was live music by Strumming for Vets, a group of Veterans learning to play the guitar...WOW, were they great! This was their first public performance and you would have thought they were professionals, good job guys! We had a wonderful escort provided by Warrior Watch Riders, the PGR and others along with the Northern California Corvette Association for the Veterans who attended from the VA hospital from Livermore.



From the Los Gatos Weekly Times

'Strumming for Vets'

By Judy Peterson

Los Gatos Weekly-Times

About four months ago, John Rola launched a nonprofit program called "Strumming for Vets" that finds him visiting the VA Hospital in Palo Alto at least once a week.

"I give the guys guitar's and guitar lessons," Rola said. "It takes them back to a time when they weren't wounded. I had one guy whose leg was amputated on a Monday and he was there for a lesson on Wednesday." Rola gives interested vets a guitar and also supplies them with any equipment they might need.

To that end, he has solicited donations and support from the Guitar Hospital in Los Gatos, San Jose's Guitar Showcase and C.B. Perkins Guitar Shop, along with Yamaha and a Mel Bay Publishing company.

Rola says music has always been a big part of his life. He did, after all, grow up "just down the street" from Motown Records and played catch with Marvin Gaye and other big-name Detroit wheels. Those experiences taught Rola that people always relate to music, no matter what life throws at you.

"Some of the guys in the VA now are pretty messed up," Rola said. "But I can see the good that's happening to them. I want them to forget their wounds. If I can get that from the guys, that's all I want to accomplish." Rola gives both group and individual lessons to vets of all ages.

"Some of the guys have been in the VA for years," he said. "I had a WW II vet, but he became too sick to play. I don't care if I have to hold their hands on the guitar — if it gives them peace for an hour that's what I want to do." The organization's motto is, "The gift of music at the fingertips of our vets." Rola has found that helping his fellow veterans has a silver lining. For while he is trying to bring a little joy to veterans' lives, Rola finds himself transported back to his own pre-war life that is filled with memories of old movies, old cars and old girlfriends.

From The Daily News

Read about our very own John Rola and Strumming for Vets in this feature article published in the Palo Alto Daily News,

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To The Good People Of San Jose Calif (To Include The Entire Bay Area)


Good Evening San Jose , Calif and Surrounding Cities

It is currently 7:15 PM out here in the State of Hawaii , and as I sit here this evening and just completed a long distance phone call into San Jose , I spoke with John who heads up the Strumming for Veterans organization out at the V.A. Hospital .
John and I spoke for well over an hour and let me tell you there is a no finer gentleman and U.S. Veteran than John is. As a former advocate for the coalition on homeless veterans , and now the President of the coalition , John is doing one hell of a job giving of himself and his time to teach Veterans how to play guitars and soon and we hope John and his guys will be playing concerts throughout the Bay Area . The lessons that John gives not only helps the Veterans in their everyday life , but it gives them a lot more self respect and self worth and self esteem by being functional in today's society and gives them something to look forward to.

These Veterans are either hospitalized Veterans or bed ridden Veterans or wheelchair bound Veterans such as I am. John and I had a great conversation tonight and I will soon be traveling to your great city of San Jose as I lived there many years ago and I was an on air radio personality and I loved San Jose. The people that live there are just fantastic and a great bunch of folks always willing to help , and that’s what brings me to you folks tonight.

I am sure that you have seen the Strumming for Vets website and hopefully you know what they are all about. I am going to do my part because I believe in what John does and helping our fellow brothers and sister in arms in giving back to them and for them as they have given of themselves for us.

I am going to make my contacts here in Hawaii to assist in securing chord books and song books for them and I am also going to make some contacts as John needs your help also. So if you have a guitar and or chord and or song books that you would be willing to part with and donate to a great cause and really feel good about the U.S. Veterans that have given so much of themselves it would be appreciated.

I do know that right now times are rough for us all and the state of the economy stinks right now , but the way I look at it as a Disabled and retired Vietnam Veteran , anything I can do to help I will do . Guitars are expensive and chord books are expensive and all but if you can see it within your heart and help John, he needs chord books, song books, and guitars please contact him or myself through this site and I will relay it to John for you.

Remember one thing about our Veterans





Coalition On Homeless Veterans
Honolulu , Hawaii




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