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VFW Magazine January 2018 : Page 21

STAGE FOR COMEDY SHOWS C omedy is not a cure for the mental wounds service mem-bers receive overseas. But for Patrick Donohue, it plays an important role. The Afghanistan War veteran said there are “no words to describe the inter-nal happiness” he feels because of his nonprofit Project9Line , which hosts a comedy workshop for veterans. Donohue said though it’s not the only activity that has helped him personally, comedy has made a difference with approaching others and speaking publicly. “[I’m able to] share my experiences just so much better now,” Donohue said. “It’s like night and day.” Donohue, a member of VFW Post 433 in Sayville, N.Y., started Project9Line in late 2013-early 2014 to help vet-erans. Donohue served in Kandahar, Afghanistan, with the 2nd Bde., 101st Abn. Div., as a water-treatment specialist from 2010 to 2011, and said he was diag-nosed with PTSD while on active duty. “When I returned home from over-seas, I had a really, really rough time,” Donohue said. “It lasted for a few years. I finally asked for help, then went to VA for a few months and while receiving treat-ment, I realized some things I started to do had a profound impact on my life — writing, doing yoga, art.” He wanted to continue those activities not only for himself, but, he said, “to help veterans like me.” And thus Project9Line was born. The nonprofit helps veterans “com-municate their experiences and express themselves” through workshops, classes and programs focused on the arts, accord-ing to Project9Line hosts activities ranging from yoga and fencing to mixed-martial arts and comedy. Navy veteran “Tugboat Manny” Erias takes the stage in September at VFW Post 400 in Farmingville, N.Y. As part of Project9Line , Erias learned the ins and outs of comedy in order to put together a routine based on his own experiences. Army veteran Sid Lynn participated in the most recent comedy workshop with Project9Line , allowing him the opportunity to perform in September at his own Post. “I really needed to take my focus off of some other things in my life that I was going through,” said Lynn, a former VFW District 1 commander in New York, “and I knew that Project9Line was there.” WHAT DOES PROJECT9LINE OFFER? • Writing workshops • Art classes • Comedy workshop • Mixed-martial arts • Guitar group • Yoga • Fencing • Recreational horseback riding • Drum lessons JANUARY 2018 • WWW.VFW.ORG • 21

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