PLAINS TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Some veterans in our area got to show off their musical and artistic talents on Thursday in Luzerne County.
"I enjoyed it," said Sam Booker, a veteran of the Marine Corps. "I like to stay active and I get bored very easily."
Veterans at the V.A. Medical Center near Wilkes-Barre all take part in the competition. Booker got up out of his wheelchair to shake a tailfeather with one of the hospital staff members.
"Last time I danced, I was on my way down, and my partner grabbed me and pulled me up, and I said, 'Keep dancing. They'll think that's one of my new moves.'"
"It's a very popular event, and it seems like we get more and more every year," said Denise Redenski, who works at the medical center. "More people want to participate. We try to advertise early and try to get as many veterans as possible to participate."
The event also includes artwork and poetry made by the veterans.
Navy veteran Robert Nause carved a vase of wooden flowers.
"I've been doing this since I've been 11 years old. I got away from it when I was in the Navy, and about 15 years ago, I started up again," said Nause.
The competition gives the veterans a way to express themselves.
"I tear up constantly," admitted Redenski. "It's very emotional because some of them do original pieces, and they're speaking from their hearts, from their experiences, and using that as a healing medium for themselves, and we're the ones who get to benefit from that."
"You take a look at what's on this table, such hidden talent in the area which comes from the heart," agreed Nause.
Recordings of the winning performances will be sent on to the national competition, which will be held later this year in Kalamazoo, Michigan.