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From combat to comedy: Armed Services Arts Partnership brings veterans new hope

The national non-profit offers many different programs from veterans, military families and caretakers including comedy, improv, storytelling, writing and more.
Updated: Nov. 11, 2020 at 6:33 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - This Veterans Day, we honor those who served and recognize that millions have returned home from deployments with physical and emotional injuries.

Armed Services Arts Partnership, or ASAP, is helping save lives by taking veterans from combat to comedy.

ASAP has served more than 1,200 veterans since 2015, and went from serving veteran communities and their families in three states to over 35 virtually in mere months.

For Navy veteran Kelsey Storr and Army veteran Robin Johnson, ASAP did more than just give them a chance to perform, it helped change their lives.

“I can’t even tell you how much of an impact it’s made,” Johnson said.

For Johnson, after serving 26 years in the Army with tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, she said her “transition was particularly hard. Finding my way back into civilian life was tough...I was struggling with who I was as a person.”

She said the storytelling aspect of the program unlocked her joy.

“I wanted to apply humor to bring healing and hope to people,” she said.

It helped her find a voice -- and a career.

For Navy veteran Kelsey Storr, ASAP wasn’t around yet when he retired after 20+ years of service. However, a chance encounter with an ASAP flyer on a bulletin board at Starbucks prompted him to enter the program.

“The Armed Services Arts Partnership is doing tremendous work,” he said.

Storr, now a comedy boot camp coach for veterans entering the program, says it’s more than just the thrill of performing that continues to bring men and women into the fold.

“It’s the same things I see over and over from the people who come in,” he explained. “The community, the connection -- it’s incredible.”

The national non-profit offers many different programs from veterans, military families and caretakers including comedy, improv, storytelling, writing and more. To donate, or to find out more, visit ASAP’s website by clicking or tapping here.

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