Anthony “Bob” Silva goes through some old photos remembering the days of a war that taught him lessons but also caused him emotional wounds. Silva is an 86-year-old Korean War veteran.
“I have no memory after returning after the Korean War; I don’t remember the ceasefire,” Silva said. “For a few years after, I was not part of this world.”
The east coast native moved to Palm Desert in 1981. Silva found a way to heal from the trauma caused by the war thanks to a newly found passion: art. He has explored several areas of art which include: sculpture, music, painting, theater and film.This motivated him to found the Bob Silva Library Arts Program in the Coachella Valley to help other veterans.
“I know what the arts did for me as far as therapy goes after coming back from Korea, so I pursued that interest,” he said.
Thanks to his community work, Silva received three special congressional recognitions and three special senate recognitions. He also served as cultural arts commissioner in the city of Indio.
Another accomplishment under his belt is his loyal participation in the Palm Springs Tram Road Challenge. Out of the 33 years that the challenge has been around, Silva has participated 32 times. He has finished in the top three in his age group 14 times, won in his category three times and holds one record between 1980 and 1984.
“I do it because I can do, and so many other guys can’t, so I feel I’m doing it for all of us,” Silva said.
Silva has faced ups and downs during his 86 years of life, but he has always found a way to persevere and help others.
“I enjoyed the failures because I learned from them,” he said.
After years of working with fellow vets Silva said he would like to see more resources for fellow veterans dealing with PTSD. Like every year, Silva will be walking with Vietnam War veterans at the Palm Springs Veterans’ Day parade on Sunday.