TULSA, Oklahoma — A glassblowing school in Oklahoma is helping veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some are trying a technique that helps them move beyond the violence of war — and find peace.
“All day long it’s like you’re a balloon being blown up, and then you get here, and you actually get to focus on that glass blowing, focus on that art and that it releases that pressure,” Justin Schultz said.
Schultz served his country for 10 years, completing multiple tours overseas.
“The thing about PTSD is there’s no medication that you can take for that and it’s actually one of the few disorders that gets worse in time and doesn’t actually get better,” Schultz said.
Schultz said he’s struggled to adapt to life back home after his service.
“There’s some days I barely make it here — in the nick of time,” Schultz said.
Glass blowing is his medication.
“We’re using these different size blocks to give it that Q-tip shape so it just makes it easy to work with. That element of danger, I think, kind of draws veterans because they are always kind of looking for that,” Schultz said.
The motto here at Tulsa Glass Blowing School is hot is good, cold is bad and always be turning. The school offers a FREE six-week class for veterans. It’s one of two schools in the nation to do so.
“It’s almost kind of like meditating. You’ve forgotten about everything else that’s going on around you,” Matthew Engelbach.
Engelbach, a Marine Corps veteran comes to the class twice a week. He said it helps with his anxiety.
“When you walk away from it, you’re ready to re-engage and kind of move on with life again for the next week,” Engelbach said.
“It’s just really changed my outlook on life around,” Schultz said.
The veterans’ art will be displayed and sold at a show on May 25th. All of the proceeds will go back into the program, which is what makes these classes free for veterans.