From The Desk Of Mike Lynch
Todd Rauch thought he had his life pretty well mapped out. From an early age he knew that he wanted to be in the military. He prepared for this by becoming the Battalion and Drill Team Commander for his high school ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) and upon graduation Rauch joined the U.S. Army.His first duty station was in Germany, but after a transfer to Iraq Rauch was part of a March 2003 ground assault. “The intent of the assault was to help establish law enforcement,” said Rauch. Several months after securing the area, however, Rauch and a member of the Iraqi Security Forces encountered an IED (improvised explosive device) which detonated before there was time to flee. Rauch, whose wounds were severe, spent the next year and a half hospitalized at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
“About three months into my hospitalization I was introduced to the Help Hospitalized Veterans arts & crafts program. It was difficult at first because I couldn’t move my arm or my fingers, but the facility’s craft care specialist got me to try a paint-by-number kit. My first effort didn’t turn out very pretty, but I liked working on the kits because they kept my mind off my injuries,” said Rauch.Rauch began selecting more difficult kits because it seemed they helped him regain the range of motion in his hand, arm and shoulder. “Each craft that I completed left me exhausted, but my physical condition improved right along with the outcome of the crafts. In fact, my rehabilitation is advancing very well as a result of my continuous work on those therapeutic kits,” added Rauch who has since returned home, completed his degree and is now working for the U.S. Army as a civilian. When asked what’s next craft-kit wise, Rauch proudly stated, “I’m working on a kit that I plan to enter into next year’s National Veterans Creative Arts Festival!” The Festival is a weeklong event of sharing, learning, fellowship and celebration of the healing power of the arts, and is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) and the American Legion Auxiliary.