The Patriot Woodworker, an organization dedicated to sharing the equipment, skills and love of woodworking with wounded veterans, recently announced it has equipped a woodworking shop for an Iraq War veteran with severe visual and speech impairment.
The veteran, Specialist E-4 Mark Wilson of Palmyra, Mo., a former combat engineer who served two tours of duty as an explosives expert tasked with locating and disarming improvised explosive devices, was injured in a non-service-connected firearms accident. Wilson, an avid woodworker even before his injury, now makes an array of products he will shortly begin selling through garage sales, flea markets, newspaper ads and a website.
“My passion has always been woodworking,” Wilson said. “Before I deployed, I enjoyed making picture frames, benches, wall shelves, small tables, plaques, and boxes in my garage. I now attend a specialized woodshop program through the Blind Rehabilitation Center in Hines, Va., where I’m learning advanced adaptive and safety techniques for different tools. There’s no way I can express my gratitude to everyone who has helped me return to woodworking, despite my injuries.”
To date, Wilson has received a dust collector, band saw and table saw from Laguna Tools. He has also received a collection of woodworking clamps from Bessey Tools of North America and woodturning lathe tools from Easy Wood Tools.