Recovery Unplugged is always gratified and inspired to see another organization working to heal vulnerable populations through the power of music, and that’s exactly what Army Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Paul De La Cerda has been up to. His group, Rock 4 Recovery, is a Houston-based organization that uses music therapy to help veterans who have been wounded in combat. In a recent interview with the Houston Press, De La Cerda describes his impetus to start Rock 4 Recovery, relaying a story of how in 2005, an IED exploded near his vehicle leaving him with traumatic brain injury. The physical injuries caused subsequent memory loss, depression and PTSD.
A lifelong drummer, De La Cerda had to reteach himself how to play after he sustained his injuries. In the course of getting reacquainted with the kit, he discovered a profound catharsis and therapy that he has used to help many others. He soon found himself in a band with other veterans and eventually established space where fellow veterans can come, play music and start healing from the trauma associated with the rigors of their service. Eventually he got bigger names involved and has generated an enormous amount of support in the form of everything from free concert tickets to wounded veterans to VIP experiences. The organization has been a welcome supplemental therapy for vets healing from both external and internal wounds.
Though lack of funding has caused Rock 4 Recovery to scale back on many of its initiatives, De La Cerda remains committed to helping veterans through the power of music. He has several events and live performances planned in order raise awareness of the plight of wounded vets while providing some much needed entertainment, and respite from the rigors of the recovery process. His efforts are a refreshing resource to an historically at-risk population.