Local Citizen Helps Veterans Through Art
Helios Warriors, Inc. a local nonprofit dedicated to offering quality holistic therapies to veterans has greatly benefitted from the generosity of Asheville citizen, artist Jonas Gerard. During last weekend’s River Arts District Studio Stroll, Jonas produced five of his unique acrylic on canvas paintings for auction. 100 percent of the proceeds went to Helios Warriors. In addition, Gerard, who is a United States Army Veteran, also donated proceeds of a dozen, completed works. The total for the local not-for-profit was $16,975.
“We are thrilled that Jonas chose to help us at a time when the need is bigger than ever,” said Helios Chairman Allen Brasington, III. “Because the wars aren’t in the news every day, folks have the misconception that the crisis of vets with PTSD and physical ailments is over. That is far from the case. Veteran suicide and homelessness are at record highs.”
Helios survives on private donations and payments from veterans on a sliding scale. “Because many of our clients are indigent, we rely on private donations. It’s great that an older vet like Jonas has reached out to help those who, like him, served our country. Our heroes range from Vietnam era veterans to those who have just returned from the Middle East,” said Brasington.
The fundraiser also brought out collectors and citizens of Asheville who wanted to opportunity to buy Gerard’s art and give back. “I have always loved Jonas’ work,” said Thom Kuhner, “and when I heard he was doing a fundraiser for a needy and worthy charity like Helios Warriors, I specifically made sure I was there. It felt good to buy a beautiful painting by Jonas at auction and at the same time support a local charity that helps veterans.”
Gerard joined the US Army in 1959, less than four years after emigrating from French Morocco. “I actually took the oath of citizenship in a US Army uniform. Pride in my new country led me to enlist. After my active duty was up, I remained in the reserves for another eight years,” said Gerard. Among Gerard’s assignments in the service were communications tech and tank driver.
Helios provides low-cost, sliding scale services that are made possible by a dedicated corps of volunteer, licensed/certified practitioners who provide holistic healing for the whole person, not just symptoms, to enhance veterans’ physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
They work with each client to assess needs, determine desired outcomes, and create a recommended care plan with complementary modalities that support positive results.
“We really appreciate the help of Jonas and all the others in the community. They seriously are making a difference,” Brasington continued. “Client veterans report reductions in pain and stress, and increases in their ability to get more out of life. As we go into Memorial Day Weekend, it’s particularly timely to have such a generous donation that helps veterans quality of life.”