Veterans Voices: From Army to artist

Veterans Voices

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — John Arthurs left high school and joined the Army out of Pittsburgh, PA in the early 1980’s. He started his service as an ’11 Bravo’, an infantryman. But it was his experience in the restaurant industry that had the Army tapping into his culinary gifts to feed hundreds of troops daily. 

“So they changed my MOS, and they sent me to school. And I went to cooking school,” says Arthurs.

Arthurs was stationed in Germany, then back to the US, then back to Europe. His kitchen skills in high demand. “I took my position as a cook very seriously,” he says.

It was this journey into meal making that let Arthurs first explore his creative side…usually stifled in the military. Other parts of him…had to be kept quiet as well. 

“I think they knew that I was gay…but I was doing my job,” he says. “I had several instances where I had actual fist fights.”

Arthurs left the Army honorably, going to school in Chicago and other places for art, eventually ending up in Rochester. 

“I’ve always been interested in art, even as a child, so I just started to create,” he says.

Arthurs says art is therapeutic for him, and he doesn’t limit himself to one method or genre. He has paintings, vases, sculptures all around him. Arthurs says the Veterans Outreach Center in the city, gave him a safe place to further his creative career.

“I met some fabulous folks over there,” he says.

Through is all, he says he’ll never forget his Army roots, and his service to the nation. It gave him a solid canvas to start his professional life, and get him to where he is now. 

“If I could do it all over again, I’d do it. There’s no doubt in my mind,” he says.

Arthurs also had a career as a banker, and has worked for years at AIDS organizations.

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