FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS (October 24, 2016) -- After an 15-month deployment in Iraq, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Lisa Stansbury had a hard time turning the "warzone" mentality off.
"Although there were no bullets or rockets flying at me in Sierra Vista, Arizona, I expected the same level of urgency from myself and from others both on and off the job," she said. "I needed to learn to be calm, patient and gracious with people again and to tamp down the rage inside of me when I'd see inefficiencies."
Stansbury, a host-based security system service manager at the Second Regional Cyber Center -- Western Hemisphere at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, took up learning stained glass art after her return from Iraq. She recently won first place in the glass art for accomplished artists category with her piece entitled "September the 10th." The artwork depicted the calm New York City skyline before the September 11 attacks.
A self-taught artist, Stansbury sees art as an excellent outlet for Soldiers to express themselves, especially if they are coping with posttraumatic stress disorder from a deployment.
"I thought that the deployment changed me forever, and not in a good way," she said. "Looking back, the fact that the deployment led me to working with glass, it did change me forever. Everything happens for a reason, and I'm so grateful for that change and new passion in my life and a possible new business venture."
Spc. Dmitriy Pinchuk, a Russian linguist in the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Stewart, Georgia, discovered a newfound passion for creating ceramic art. His piece entitled "Tea Leaves" won first place in the ceramic art for novices category. He also placed in second in the same category for a piece called "Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water."
"I don't have any art background, but I've always enjoyed building and creating things," he said. "I've worked with ceramic art for a total of three months last year while at advanced individual training in Goodfellow Air Force Base."
Pinchuk made a teapot and matching cups by hand. He then carved the tea leaves pattern for about a week in his barracks room.
He is waiting to be medically discharged in a few months. He wanted other Soldiers to find art as an outlet for expression and creativity.
"Art is a great outlet from the daily life of the average service member," he said.
Sgt.1st Class Jonathan Maybon, a civil affairs specialist assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, found relief from anguish through artistic expression. He learned about the contest through his unit's occupational therapist Karen Tiller and, through her encouragement, decided to submit entries.
He placed first in the glass art for novices category with a piece called "Neuschwanstein." Neuschwanstein depicted the 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace in Germany, a place Maybon visited in his Army career. He also placed second in the 2D mixed media category for novices with a piece called "The Hessian."
For Maybon, art helped him after reaching a low point in his life two years ago. He went through a divorce, another breakup and the possibility of foreclosure on his home. He drank heavily and ultimately became suicidal. Through the help of a friend, he started his road to recovery and sobriety.
"Not long after I quit drinking, I had a terrible void in my life that, if I didn't fill, would most likely lead to relapse. I rediscovered my artistic talent and delved back in to creating again," he said.
As he continues to master the glass art, Maybon hoped that others in his situation will see art as a viable treatment option.
"Art has been the only true relief from my pain that I have found. I believe that it can help others as well, regardless of whether you have natural talent or not," he said.