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Harmonicas create healing melodies

January 24, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

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Terri Dawes of Butler and an Army veteran learns to play the harmonica during the a class to help verterans combat the effects of COPD.

Vietnam Army veteran Harold Burns pulled a silver and black harmonica to his mouth with two hands and created a series of notes with each breath.

“I thought it was pretty interesting,” said Burns, 70, of Portersville, about learning to play the harmonica during a new Butler VA Health Care System program. “I fooled around with it, but definitely didn't know anything about it.”

In addition to the new musical ability on the harmonica he wants to gain, Burns, who has had two open-heart surgeries and 18 stents inserted, looked forward to the breathing exercise.

“I'm hoping it strengthens my lungs and gets my breathing a little better,” he said. “I'm hoping it'll help everything.”

The 15 veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other chronic lung diseases, who filled the “Harmonicas for Health” program last week, breathed in and out as they were introduced to the instrument during the first session of the class at the Abie Abraham VA Health Care Center, 353 N. Duffy Road.

This is an excerpt from a story that appears in Sunday's Butler Eagle.

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