Click to see the video story produced by the St. Petersburg Times…
With the Independence Day just around the corner, I want to wish my fellow countrymen and women a happy, safe and healthy July 4th.
Just outside of Tampa, Florida, Retired Army Lt. Colonel John S. Campbell runs a very interesting woodworking operation.
After spending over 27 years in the Army, John decided to pursue his life-long passion for woodworking in retirement.
During an annual woodworking show in Tampa, John saw a demonstration of garden furniture production put on by Eureka Woodworks of Dallas Texas. John signed up to be a producer of this high-end garden furniture in order to augment his normal woodworking business, Black Bear Woodworking.
One day, while working alone in his shop, John was struggling with how to hire motivated and trainable workers to help produce quality woodworking items when the “light” went on – why not open the workforce to disabled veterans? VetMade Industries seeks to prepare disabled veterans for reentry into the workforce; and then place them in meaningful long-term careers.
After a few phone calls to the U.S.Veterans Administration (VA) and a conversation with the VA Compensated Work Therapy Program, Black Bear Woodworking hired its first disabled veteran. With some basic training in woodworking machines, safety and production processes, the first Adirondack chair rolled off the assembly line
In July 2008 VetMade Industries, Inc. was formed as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with the charter to return disabled veterans back to work; not only to make furniture, but to also make a difference in the lives of men and women who selflessly protected our country; asking nothing in return except for a chance to regain their productivity.
The veterans who work at VetMade Industries turn out some beautiful Adorondack-style furniture as well as flag cases, hand-made baseball bats, custom bird houses and hardwood cutting boards. The site is definitely worth a visit.