Constructing a greater life: Wisconsin veteran finds remedy by means of LEGOs

Building a better life: Wisconsin veteran finds therapy through LEGOs

2021-05-04 03:18:00

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee veteran is bettering his life one LEGO at a time.

On the fourth of Might, many know it is Star Wars Day, and have a good time with the saying “Might the 4th be with you”.

For Jeff Haagensen, an Military veteran, it’s a day meaning far more.

LEGOs weren’t at all times part of Jeff Haagensen’s life, in reality he hated them.

“As a child, I completely hated LEGOs…hated LEGOs,” Military Veteran, Jeff Haagensen says.

However now, should you check out his assortment of labor, you would possibly say they play a reasonably large function in his life.

“At one level you couldn’t sit on my sofa, use my espresso desk, my kitchen desk. You couldn’t use the bar prime, kitchen counters, the whole lot was LEGOs,” Haagensen says.

He’s labored with hundreds of blocks which have helped carry him to a happier and more healthy place then he was a few years in the past. Haagensen is a military veteran who served a number of excursions from 1998 to 2011. After his ultimate tour, he battled PTSD and turned to medicine and alcohol, earlier than his life modified in 2015.

“I assumed I used to be doing effectively, after which one weekend a reminiscence got here up on Fb once I was in Afghanistan, and inside 24 hours issues went from clear, and sober, and joyful, to within the hospital with a damaged again from a suicide try,” Haagensen mentioned.

He tried to take his life, and fortunately survived. He’s now in a wheelchair and finds pleasure and peace in his LEGO constructing. Though a traumatic occasion occurred again in 2015, his story didn’t finish there. He started working with LEGOS whereas recovering from surgical procedures on the Milwaukee VA in 2018 and first started his new ardour. He mentioned it was a brand new interest that stored his thoughts occupied. 

“It simply means ache reduction. It’s only a means of coping with it aside from the alcohol and medicines, like I used to,” Haagensen mentioned.

As an alternative of medicine and alcohol, he’s turned to LEGOs as a substitute. It is a constructive outlet for him to stimulate his mind and maintain busy. He has constructed tons of of them in simply three brief years. His favorites are after all, Star Wars.

As he makes his means round his newly arrange exhibit on the Conflict Memorial, he displays again on all he’s made and the issues he’s achieved whereas constructing these LEGOs.

He discovered a type of remedy that’s symbolic of him placing the items again collectively for himself, whereas constructing creations which might be out of this world.

Inquisitive about assembly Jeff Haagensen and seeing his exhibit on show? You may try his work on the Conflict Memorial Middle in Milwaukee this week.

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