What is the Purple Heart Project?
I am a hand tool woodwork instructor, tool designer/maker and furniture maker. Last year I met a disabled Marine that told me hand tool woodwork gives him peace from the mental and physical pain of his injuries. I was inspired to help these Vets suffering from both physical mental injuries like PTSD. We organized a week-long workshop in November and with the help from anonymous donors we were able to bring 7 Vets from around the US to our rented facility in Niagara Falls, ON. It was an all-expense paid venture and the results were fantastic! Read more here A New Basic Training
Engaging the hand and mind in a creative manner like hand tool woodwork seems to offer a distractive therapy for these folks. My evidence is all from individual accounts by Vets who have already discovered the benefits and from the handful I have personally taught. Our plan is to bring 6 disabled Vets each time to a week-long workshop along with 6 civilian students. The class is run 12 hours each day, 8 to 8. We meet for breakfast at 7, break for lunch together at 1 and enjoy a supper to unwind and finish the day after 8. The Vets appreciate the support from their fellow Vets and the civilian students get to put a name to a face and gain a greater appreciation for what has been sacrificed in their behalf.
Our next two classes are booked for November 13-17, 20-24, 2017. We are taking applications now from both the paying civilians and the Vets we will sponsor. Our need is immediate and as funds allow we will offer classes again in April, 2018.
The funds we receive will be used to the benefit of the wounded Vets. It will take care of their airfare, hotel, meals and supply them with a kit of tools to take home. Some Vets have extra needs like a traveling companion, the donations will cover all those costs so no one is excluded. Our facility is wheel chair accessible and operates as a learning center for disabled children. (See more here Heartland Forest) We budget approximately $2,000.00 per Vet, any excess is carried forward to the next workshop. We have been able to drop the cost per Vet thanks to several business stepping up. We found restaurants in the area willing to feed our Vets each day on the house. Others offered substantial discounts. Several Woodcraft store owners have agreed to sponor the Vets with most of the tools they need. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of wounded/disabled Vets so we have made this our mission, to offer the peace and joy found in the craftsmanship of hand tool woodworking.
To expand the help, we offer ALL disabled Vets a free life time membership to our online training workshop. Our goal is to provide the exposure, motivation and training to those who may be interested in pursuing this craft. Changes in our education system decades ago, means very few of the under 40 generation have had any exposure to manual skills like woodwork, metalwork or machine shop. We can do some of that through our Web Wood Shop, we need you to pass the word. Here is the link: On-Line Workshop
Thank-you for your help, with staggering numbers like nearly 30 Vets per day ending their lives, it is time we the people did more than just thank a Vet and started helping these Heroes!
Rob Cosman and Team.