Voices of Diversity: DBQ Veteran Uses Art to Manage PTSD

DUBUQUE, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - Those who've served overseas sometimes come home with traumatic experiences.

Not every case of post-traumatic stress disorder is the same and for one Dubuque artist, he has a special way of handling it.

Robert Small was in the Marine Corp and said he served in South Korea. He said when he came home, he struggled with his anger and aggression.

"An awful lot of people with post-traumatic stress disorders are just considered an angry individual," Small said. "Without a keen eye, you won't know that what is causing that is what happened before."

He eventually became homeless.

"There was so much anger that I would unleash on everyone," he said. "I ended up being kicked out of jobs."

He jumped from state-to-state.

"Kept knocking on doors for work," he said.

Now many years later, after help from VA doctors, opportunity is now knocking on his door.

He's been an artist since he was a child, but now in his 50s, his passion for art is now latching on new technology.

He attaches a Go-Pro to a small helicopter and flies it around his city.

"I have control over the art," he said. "Whereas I don't have control over the rage sometimes.

His art projects are videos of the city.

"To put it on the internet to show other people how nice it is in Dubuque," he said.

He wants to show others there's good in your surroundings. For those in his shoes, he said there's still a way to sour and make sure your emotions can fly.

"I know that what I'm thinking is giving me joy is actually working when it gives others happiness," he said.

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