Rick Harrell Wins Jefferson Award for Public Service

A few days ago, I received a surprising phone call with the news that I had been selected to receive a Regional Bay Area Jefferson Award for my work with veterans through Heroes’ Voices.

Jennifer Mistrot, a producer with KPIX television, explained that Jefferson Awards are given to people who build better communities and contribute to better a future for those around them. I had been nominated by someone, and that she and her colleagues had carefully vetted me for the award. What an honor!

She asked if she could interview me sometime soon.

When I suggested she might want to watch one of our free Zoom guitar lessons for veterans on a Friday morning or a Wednesday afternoon, she was so intrigued that she wanted to come to our next class with her colleague Sharon Chin.

On a Friday morning just two days later, they spent about an hour interviewing me, and then taped me singing Blowing in the Wind. I launched the Zoom class with the vets, and then turned it over, as usual, to Larry Chung, our main teacher. After class, Jennifer and Sharon went to Larry’s place to interview him.

They also wanted to interview two of our veteran participants. I suggested Jesse (a Vietnam veteran) and Robert (an Iraq veteran). Both men have struggled in their lives following their military deployments, and both of them use music to help overcome those challenges. Both of their interviews were included in the broadcast.

You can see the story at https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2022/02/02/san-francisco-opera-singer-brings-healing-music-therapy-to-veterans-battling-ptsd/.