By 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public AffairsNovember 9, 2010
FORT KNOX, Ky. (Nov. 9, 2010) -- For the past 19 years, Capt. Chad Ryg of the 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) has considered playing the guitar to be one of his favorite pastimes.
Ryg, a Billings, Mont., native and 3rd ESC maintenance officer, began playing the guitar in high school and found it to be fun and as he said jokingly, "a cool way to pick up girls at the time."
But what Ryg didn't know was that what he considered fun, could also be therapeutic to others.
Through research, Ryg found Guitars for Vets Inc., a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of ailing and injured veterans by providing them with guitars and music instruction.
With this program, Ryg found that he could do something he enjoyed, while helping others.
"Music often impresses and provides satisfaction," said Ryg. "To veterans struggling with issues, music can be a method of coping with PTSD or a distraction from any other issues that they may be dealing with."
Ryg became interested in building a guitar for veterans in December of 2009, and through his online forum, enlisted 10 others to contribute their help and expertise.
To Ryg, much of the guitar building process was beyond his abilities, which is the reason he sought assistance from others.
"While putting this guitar together, I actually found that the construction process was more enjoyable to me than playing," said Ryg.
What Ryg and company have built thus far was fabricated from scratch and has grown into a fully functional guitar. He said that at this point, the guitar is about 98% complete, and only lacking some electronics and minor adjustments.
For those looking at possibly building a guitar for themselves or to donate, Ryg said the process can be time consuming and expensive. He said at this point in the building process, he has spent nearly 100 hours on the guitar and has spent countless dollars. But Ryg insists that every dollar and hour spent on the guitar has been completely worth it.
He said that the internet is and has been a great resource in the building process, as there are numerous websites and forums attributed to guitar building.
The next step would be to complete the guitar and contact the organization to see how they would want to proceed with the donation. Ryg said that he would like to personally present the guitar to the lucky veteran and possibly stay in touch with them.
Upon graduation, each veteran in the program is presented a guitar, gig bag, strap, tuner, method book, stand and a certificate of completion.
"It gives me personal satisfaction to know that I contributed in some way to help a veteran," said Ryg. "If I can have just a piece of the satisfaction of the owner, I feel as if I've served my purpose to give the best guitar possible."