Guitars for Vets strumming along |

Guitars for Vets strumming along

Staff Reports
Student Tony Stephenson with his Guitars for Vets graduation guitar, and instructor Bruce Theriot
Special to The R-C

After 10 weeks of customized one-on-one lessons, Anthony “Tony” Stephenson graduated from his Guitars for Vets instructional course at the Gardnerville VA clinic and was awarded a brand-new Yamaha acoustic guitar.

Stephenson said he was especially interested in musical theory, and instructor Bruce Theriot was able to answer his questions and demonstrate a variety of techniques that support his musical goals.

Guitars for Vets Gardnerville chapter coordinator Gary B. Swift said two of the three guitar instructors are moving away from the area.

“But we’ve gained an excellent new instructor, John Nikakis, who will be joining Bruce Theriot to continue giving lessons to veterans who are referred to us by the VA health care system,” he said. “Still, it would be great if we could recruit a third instructor to help us get back to full strength, so we can more effectively provide lessons to the students in our waiting list.”

Guitars for Vets is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in Milwaukee, Wis., in 2007. It currently operates more than 80 chapters at VA health care facilities in 40 states with the assistance more than 200 volunteers nationwide. For more information, visit the organization’s website:

Anyone interested in donating an unused guitar or becoming a volunteer instructor for the Gardnerville chapter should contact Swift at 775-350-9454 and leave a voicemail, or