Beckley VA Marine Corps Veteran claims third place title in a national VA art competition

PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – Marine Corps Veteran Susan Roles has a knack for sewing, and now she’s finding it rewarding on national levels.

A few months after winning on a local level, Roles found out that she had won 3rd place in the VA National Creative Arts Festival for her sewing skill.

She first learned to sew when she was in 7th grade. Since then, she has moved on to cross-stitching, knitting, crocheting, and quilting, which she has been doing for 13 years.

Roles didn’t know what she was getting into when she was convinced by a friend to enter her artwork into the competition, but now she’s happy she did.

“Well, the word that came out of my mouth was ‘wow,’ about a dozen times,” says Roles. “I showed her this quilt in August or September and she told me that I needed to stick it in. She was helping me fold it up and stick it back away and she saw it and said that I needed to put it in and I said what are you talking about, and she told me about it.”

A fellow Marine Corps Veteran and friend of Role’s, Terri Eanes told Roles about the arts festival.

It’s a festival that’s first held locally and then nationally. Eanes was the Beckley VA’s first-ever national first-place winner in the 2020 festival. She then went on to convince her friend to enter.

The competition for both the two Veteran women is only secondary to what they simply just love doing.

“Quilting is enjoyable,” she says. “Most of the stuff I do, other than the quilt behind me is my baby, but the other ones I do, they’re always for somebody else. It is enjoyable seeing them get happy.”

Roles is considering entering her work again in the future.

She and her friend Eanes encourage all veterans to get into art therapy as it can be a useful coping mechanism in dealing with PTSD or other emotional and physical disabilities.

The local and national VA Art Festivals give veterans a chance to explore many different categories of the art they love to do.

The local 2022 Veteran Arts Competition will be held at the Beckley VAMC on August 24, 2022. You can contact Recreational Therapist Robert Estepp at (304)-255-2121 ext. 4228, or email him at National guidelines can be found on the VA Creative Arts Festival webpage.

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