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Local Veteran Places First in National Arts Competition

U.S. Air Force Veteran Sherrill Williams

U.S. Air Force Veteran Sherrill Williams competed in the Butler VA’s first ever Creative Arts Competition in the fall.

From there, her submission “Twisted Colors” proceeded to the national competition where it won FIRST place in the category “Needlework Kit.”

The 2021 National Veterans Creative Arts competition was presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Legion Auxiliary. Nearly 2,000 Veterans submitted entries into the 2021 competition, and 142 Veterans received gold medals, including Sherrill! The gold medal-winning Veterans are invited to attend the 41st National Veterans Creative Arts Festival planned for April 20-25, 2022 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Sherrill took her first quilting class at Beale Air Force Base (California) over 20 years ago. She has been quilting ever since, making over 60 quilts. She has previously entered some of her work in local fairs, but this past year was a first with the VA. Both of her grandmothers taught her the craft, so it was a way to honor them too.

“Quilting is relaxing, especially during COVID-19. I’m a pharmacy tech, and my husband is a physical therapy assistant in a nursing home, so arts and crafts help calm us after a hectic day,” said Sherrill. “Picking fabrics, finding new colors and patterns, it’s relaxing and fun!”

Creating art can be therapeutic and healing, and a great way for Veterans to focus on their overall well-being this year. Veterans may contact the Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Program Manager at 878-271-6484 to learn about any upcoming creative arts opportunities at the Butler VA. Information and events are also regularly shared on the Butler VA Facebook page—

Sherrill is already planning for the 2022 competition and hopes to design her own quilt this year and maybe even try her hand at dyeing her own fabrics. She has recently tried a few new creative endeavors as well, including classes in both painting and basket-weaving. She encourages other Veterans to give creative arts a try. “Just do it. Don’t be afraid. Even if you’re the only one in a class, it’s fun.”

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