Arthur Strout is more than the man behind the piano for rock legends Hall and Oates. Strout began a military career with the Army May of 1976. His last Duty Command was HHC 2nd BN 81st ARM USAREUR E7. Strout suffered a military Jeep accident in February of 1979 and wanted to reenlist, but was denied and sent back to the United States. Strout was first stationed in Erlangen, Germany outside of Munich. While stationed, he was sought out the positive aspects of the tour amidst darker times. He got to learn the language, meet people, and help a lot of people. On the weekends throughout '76-'77 Strout would travel into Munich where he found solace in a recording studio, he would play piano for hours and leaped at the opportunity to be able to perform alongside Electric Light Orchestra when the opportunity presented itself.
An avid member of the Chicago based Help Heal Veterans craft center, Strout helps fellow veterans more than he helps himself. When asked how arts and crafts therapy has benefited him, he said, "It is all intricated. Crafts are the best therapy because we all have the commonality of being trained to be on constant alert in service. The crafts are an outlet to calm you down, and they allow you to use your brain in a creative way that distracts you from your daily problems. The center is a place where veterans can talk, and they can communicate and share experiences, they find out that they aren't alone." Help Heal Veterans provides a comradery that veterans often miss during the transition to civilian life, Strout mentioned, "I have never heard a negative remark about HHV. The veterans get to know each other, they get know the providers, and it creates a peaceful environment for everyone. HHV is a family, and it's just like a family reunion every time you go."
Since the age of five, Strout has been behind a piano. He combines his love of music with healing. After listening to hundreds of veteran's stories with the common theme being isolation, and being alarmed by the daily rate of veteran suicide, Strout became driven to shine a light on these tragedies in hopes changes are made. He wrote and composed the official VA song to combat veteran suicide of the year 2019 titled, "Just Like Me."
The song is being deservingly overwhelmed with honors. Just Like Me has been named the winner of the Art and Crafts song contest, and in July Stout will be awarded the #1 and #2 song in the Hines Creative Arts Festival for the VA health system.
If you are interested in hearing the song played live it will be performed at the White House Honors the last weekend in July.
Strout recalled first meeting HHV's CEO, Joe McClain, "you can't ask for a more solid handshake." McClain's commitment to veterans stirred a forceful admiration in Strout. He said, "I have played in front of the biggest crowds in the world, but nothing compares to shaking his hand, and knowing that he is committed to helping veterans."