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Community Spotlight

Combat Vet Finds Solace Through Art


Zeke Crozier lives in Bradenton, but not too many years ago, he was in a helicopter in Afghanistan on his second combat tour.

It crashed, and his life changed forever. Zeke suffered a traumatic brain injury and struggled with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. He took all of that head-on and has turned it into a life mission that he has named Handy-Cappin.

“I have been traveling all across the United States, sharing my story and supporting others using my artwork in fundraising auctions. (I) am always looking for new opportunities.”

One of those opportunities came in Bradenton when he met Ritchey Taylor, a member of Manatee River Rotary. She saw Zeke and his “Handy-Cappin” skills on display in the form of artwork he made using bottle caps.

“It was beautiful,” Taylor said. So, she commissioned him to make a piece for her Rotary Club. The Rotary wheel is on display at 3 Keys Brewery and Gastropub where Manatee River Rotary meets every Wednesday.

When Zeke was injured, his motor skills were extremely poor on the left side of his body. He began smashing bottle caps with a hammer, forcing himself to hit the same spot every time, allowing him to improve his motor skills dramatically. One day, rain ruined the table he was using so he had to find a way to protect the caps.

His treatment became his art.

“After the crash of my Chinook Helicopter and subsequent recovery … I have had to rediscover and assess who I am as a soldier, a husband, a father and as a citizen of our country.”


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