Editorial: Veteran teaches others how live life with right attitude

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Black Hawk helicopter mechanic Peter Damon gave us one lesson in positive thinking in 2003 when, after losing his hands in Iraq, he decided to take up painting.

Now he’s back with a refresher course.

The ne’er-say-die former Army sergeant – who not only took up painting with his artificial hands but also opened an art studio – announced last week that the economy was forcing him to shutter the business he started just three years ago.

His reaction?

“This is not a step backwards; it’s a step forward.”

The Middleboro, Mass., resident said the studio – which he bought with a $100,000 payment from the government for traumatic injury protection – served two purposes for him. It taught him what it takes to run a business and, more importantly, helped him realize his disabilities were not going to keep him from living life to the fullest.

“Three years ago, I wanted to prove to myself we could do something on our own,” Damon said.

He also liked the idea that his experience helped other veterans facing the same future and helped change how people think about them.

“Seeing what I’m doing makes people focus on those wounded in action,” he said. “It shines the spotlight on wounded veterans, showing that they can be a success.”

Damon and his wife, Jenn, said closing the Middleborough Art Gallery lets them focus on the other challenges they were juggling as entrepreneurs, such as raising their young children, Allura and Danny, as well as on adventures to come.

And what might the next adventure be?

The gallery space is up for lease, but Damon isn’t leaving the art scene.

He hopes to open a private studio within a year.

“I’ll still be painting,” he said.

End of lesson.

The Patriot Ledger