Woodworking with Veterans in Indiana

Today we’re joined by Work Vessels for Vets, a nonprofit that sends equipment to injured veterans who are starting a business. We’re all excited to be heading to Bloomington, Indiana, to spend the day with Justin Morseth.

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Justin and his dog are waiting to welcome us into his home, and we sit down to learn more about his story. Justin is an army infantry captain who served in Iraq in 2003, but he returned home with PTSD and a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that made it hard to readjust to daily life. “Like many veterans, specifically veterans with service-connected disabilities, I just wanted to get on with my life after leaving the military. I had an initial dream of starting a large contracting business, but found my TBI, seizures, and back injuries were too severe to allow such an endeavor,” Justin tells us.

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But thanks to Work Vessels for Vets, Justin was able to pursue his dream of owning his own business. Work Vessels for Vets explains to us how they arranged to purchase a specialized computerized laser router for intricate woodworking projects at a discounted rate. They then used matching funds from donors and a grant from Newman’s Own Foundation to purchase the laser for Justin.

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We can’t wait to see some of Justin’s projects, so we head down the hall to his workshop, where he runs Willing and Able Contractors. Justin shows us a variety of wooden objects he’s made, including an American flag, football, and carved tree. He then brings us over to his equipment table with a smile on his face. “I never could have afforded the one critical tool I needed to get started. Work Vessels for Vets gave me this amazing laser router, adapted for my injuries, and now I am able to create unique and in-demand products.”

Justin is one of more than 1,800 veterans who have received equipment for their start-up businesses. We’re happy to have seen Justin’s success story firsthand, and we can’t wait to hear how his small business continues to grow.

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