USVAA is proud to announce a new program, the USVAA Colleague of the Month as a means of our continuing efforts to highlight the talent level of the military veterans we work with in the arts, humanities and entertainment industry. This month we’re featuring the work of woodworker Alicia Dietz (US Army). The following is an excerpt from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, used with permission:
On picture-perfect days, when there’s not a cloud in the clear blue sky and weather conditions are just right, Alicia Dietz yearns for the skies. But those feelings come and go quickly, she admits, because while her heavenly ascents during test runs of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for the U.S. Army checked off her childhood dream of flying, what she’s doing on the ground these days right here is just as fulfilling.
Dietz, a woodworker in Henrico County, has a story to tell, and within the Richmond region’s thriving arts community, she’s found her opportunities.
She teaches beginning and advanced woodworking as an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. She’s also back for her second summer at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, teaching youth art classes in the ArtVenture Summer Camps, among other programs. (One of her classes later this summer involves kids making soap box derby cars — to say it’s a popular class is an understatement.)
Dietz, 37, makes custom furniture and other wood pieces for both residential and commercial projects, with her latest being a large hand-carved wooden tree formation inside the new Mellow Mushroom restaurant in Midlothian.
But before all of that Dietz spent more than a decade as a maintenance test pilot for the Army, traversing the globe to fix and fly helicopters on multiple continents. When the time came to transition to civilian life, Dietz needed to find something — and some place — that fed her need to be part of a community again. She thought she’d miss flying the most as a civilian, though what she actually missed was a sense of belonging.
Richmond, it turned out, was just what she needed.
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To visit Alicia’s page on this website, please click HERE.
To visit our Featured Colleague for the previous month, please click HERE.