Manhattan man, retired Army Officer using glass art to overcome PTSD

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT)– One glass art piece at a time, as a Manhattan man is overcoming his PTSD.

Inside a Manhattan home, you will find Tony Nichols with his dog Kitty, his wife Janet Nichols, and his daughters, as well as a collection of broken glass.

Before Tony became a full-time glass artist, he spent 23 years in the Army. Doing tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as Desert Strom.

“If hate had a noise, you could hear it where I was 24 hours a day.”

Tony Nichols

“The tour that I did in Iraq was brutal,” Tony said. “Very brutal, very violent. If hate had a noise, you could hear it where I was 24 hours a day.”

When Tony retired, he realized he wasn’t the man he was 23 years before the Army, leaving with PTSD.

“When you come home, you figure out that you are no longer the same person,” Tony said. “You’re somebody different. You have to come to that realization first, and then you have to figure what’s new about my personality. And then you try to fix it, understand it, and be able to use it.”

To keep his mind busy and away from the things he saw in the war, he began making glass art.

“There are certain dates with activities that I have to keep myself thinking from it,” Tony said. “When you put your head down on that and start working, then the day goes by and you don’t think about it. So if you see some really awesome work, you know I’m going through it.”

What started as a hobby, turned into a full-time job. Making glass art for fun and now for money. Learning tragedy isn’t the end.

“Tony’s never been a victim,” Janet said. “He’s always been a happy-go-lucky person. PTSD isn’t some kind of crazy, debilitating disease. There are ways to deal with it. There’s ways to live your life. And you can live a very normal, happy and productive life.”

Tony’s pieces can be purchased on Facebook, through his page Kickin’ Glass Kansas. His art is also sold at a gallery in Manhattan.

“PTSD isn’t some kind of crazy, debilitating disease. There are ways to deal with it.”

Janet Nichols

KSNT found out about Tony by someone suggesting his story to us. If you have someone you think we should know, use our Report It Feature.

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