2020 Golf Patriot Star presented to EBI

National Charity Work Vessels for Vets, Inc Presents “Patriot Star” Award To Enterprise Builders for Service to Injured Veterans 

NEWINGTON, CT   Sometimes, golf makes you cry.  That happened at Lake of Isles Golf Center during the 9th Annual Enterprise Builders Charity Golf Tournament.  Keith Czarnecki, CEO and Vin McCurry, CFO of Enterprise Builders fought back a tear or two, not for their golf scores, but when John Niekrash and Cathy Cook of Work Vessels for Vets presented the organization’s cherished PATRIOT STAR AWARD to honor Enterprise Builders Inc for their years of dedication and deep commitment to veterans.

For nearly a decade, the Enterprise Builders Charity Golf tournament has dedicated all proceeds to support veteran causes, totaling more than $300,000 over the years.  This year’s event raised $50,000 for Work Vessels for Vets, Inc a Connecticut-based, all-volunteer nonprofit with the mission to award equipment to injured veterans who are starting a business


Continue Reading
US Veterans Chamber of Commerce logo


MYSTIC, CT - USAF Major (ret) J. Robert Scoggins of Colorado really didn’t want to ask for help.  He is starting a farm and raising a family now that his Air Force career as a rescue pilot ended with severe injuries after twelve years and multiple deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa.  But he really needed a truck to work the farm and transport their produce to markets in the Colorado Springs/Denver area.

Work Vessels for Vets, Inc is a nonprofit with the mission to obtain equipment for injured veterans who are starting a business in partnership with the U.S. Veterans Chamber of Commerce (USVCC) stepped up to find a truck for this veteran. Rob Scoggins received his commission as an officer in the US Air Force at his graduation from the US Air Force Academy in 2003. He served in Balad AB Iraq; Khandahar Airfield and Camp Bastion, Afghanistan; and Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, Horn of Africa and rose to the rank of Major.  He was a combat rescue pilot, leading a 6-man HH-60G combat helicopter.  He engaged in 252 combat missions, rescuing and recovering 291 individuals and is credited with saving 151 lives.   Over 200 of those missions and almost all of the 291 Americans, allies, and civilians were in Afghanistan, 2010.  He was medically retired with 100% combat injuries in 2015.                                                           “When we learned of this amazing warrior’s combat history and subsequent injuries, we set out to find the truck he so desperately needed,” said Cathy Cook, Executive Director of Work Vessels for Vets.  “Maj. Scroggins has been trying to clear stumps and haul products with a hand wheelbarrow.  That’s not easy with a leg brace!”       

Continue Reading

WVFV Announces $20,000 in Grants

Emergency Distress Grants Help Injured Vets Cope with COVID-19 Impact

MYSTIC, CT.   Work Vessels for Vets, Inc. is pleased to announce $20,000 in grants have been awarded to injured veteran-entrepreneurs in Connecticut and across the country.  Businesses owned by injured veterans in 13 states received equipment and emergency funds from Work Vessels for Vets of Mystic, Connecticut.  Work Vessels for Vets is a national charity that gives equipment to wounded veterans who are starting a business.  Since 2008 this volunteer-run charity has awarded more than $3 million in equipment to 2000 veteran-entrepreneurs across America. 

“Small businesses everywhere are facing extreme and unprecedented income interruptions, loss of business contracts and the pain of letting new hires go,” said John Niekrash, President and Co-founder of Work Vessels for Vets, Inc..  “Many start-ups do not qualify for federal financial aid programs.  These hardships are more acute for injured veteran businesses whose owners are also facing personal challenges coping with disabilities, compromised health conditions, and living with PTSD.” 

Work Vessels for Vets donors stepped up to make help coming through with $20,000 to help just four days after the plea went out.  Just as rapidly, grants of $500 to $3500 in cash or equipment went out to 20 veteran-owned businesses in thirteen states who were facing closure and hardship due to the corona pandemic.  Their businesses are experiencing cancelled contracts and loss of cash flow to buy raw materials or pay employees.  The new farmers suffer from closure of farm markets and cancelled restaurant and school contracts for local produce.  The WVFV grants helped them open online markets or adapt their services to the new COVID-19 reality.

“This assistance has made all the difference in keeping us going through these tough times,” says veteran Rodney Plettner, of Coastal Wood Company, a Niantic, Connecticut online furniture business.  “Now we can purchase larger quantities of materials to complete contracts for high-quality items at affordable prices. ” He used the grant to purchase materials to turn into fine furniture.  His fine furniture products can be seen on Instagram at CoastWoodCompany. 

Continue Reading

The COVID-19 Health Crisis is hurting everyone, including new veteran-owned new businesses

The coronavirus pandemic has caused market disruptions, loss of contracts, temporary closure of markets and cash flow difficulties for the new, veteran-owned businesses who received assistance from WVFV. They need our help.  

We created a modest Emergency Distress Relief Fund to use for grants of about $500 to previous awardees to support their new businesses through the current crisis.  A core group of generous donors raised $15,000 in four days to seed the Emergency Distress Relief Fund.

Will you donate $20.20 to help?



Your donation will make a big difference to our veteran entrepreneurs during this difficult time.                                                                                                                 Your credit card (VISA, Mastercard) online donation will incur NO FEES.  Just CLICK on our DONATE Button.  You can donate via PayPal OR use a credit card directly.          If you prefer, you can mail a check to:  Work Vessels for Vets, Inc.   PO Box 215   West Mystic, CT 06388





Nonprofit Therapy Farm awarded $7500 for Tractor from Work Vessels for Vets Disabled USAF Vet completed UCONN EBV Program to help fellow vets in OH

MIAMISBURG, OHIO. Stretching the reach of their programs to Ohio, Work Vessels for Vets of Mystic, CT recently awarded funds for a tractor to USAF CMSGT (ret) Rachel Czmyr for her ECOthrive Farms nonprofit. Rachel is a 100% disabled veteran and recent graduate of the University of Connecticut Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) program that teaches business skills to veterans starting new enterprises. Her new ECOthrive Farms is a community outreach nonprofit offering unique, customized group programs for veterans and others with disabilities in Miamisburg, Ohio.

“Our goal is to educate, inspire, and empower individuals by providing an organized, safe, and calming environment that promotes personal growth, self-confidence, and creativity through caring for animals, harvesting honey, gardening, and creating handcrafted items for our community by our community,” says Chief Master Sergeant Czmyr, founder. “We provide community outreach with a special emphasis on supporting disabled veterans, children with special needs, Fisher House/nursing home patients, and victims of domestic abuse.”

Continue Reading

Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation awards $7500 grant to Work Vessels for Vets, Inc. for New Program for Veteran-Owned Technology Businesses

2019 BOND VR CPR Taining Equip 2MYSTIC, CONNECTICUT - “America’s military are trained to use the latest in technology to execute their mission,” says John Niekrash, founder and President of Work Vessels for Vets, a Mystic-based charity that awards equipment to injured veterans who are starting a business. “When they turn in their uniforms, many former warriors look to translate their training to start high-tech civilian businesses.”

“Lately, we have been receiving applications for top of the line computer equipment for injured veterans who are opening cyber security businesses; or for drones to do surveillance for clients; even for virtual reality equipment for healthcare training programs,” said Cathy Cook, Executive Director of the charity. “That’s why we were thrilled when Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation came forward with a grant of $7500 to underwrite our new Work Vessels for Vets Program for Veteran-Owned Technology Businesses.”

Continue Reading
Navy Vet Harding with Sampson's Shadow


MYSTIC, CT and CLEVELAND, TX “What a thrill to see a magnificent horse help injured veterans recover in an equine therapy program,” exclaimed Cathy Cook, Executive Director at Work Vessels for Vets. “We are delighted to match the inkind donation of a therapy trained horse valued at $12,000 with a new agritherapy program in Cleveland, Texas! The donor is happy, the veteran awardee is happy, the injured veterans are happy and the horse is happy!”

“My horse mentor came to me after several talks about my goals on my farm here and told me she wanted to donate Sampson to be a therapy horse here,” remarked Ramona Harding, a US Navy veteran who sustained injuries in her military career.   “The donor needed to partner with a nonprofit to conclude the transaction, and I turned to Work Vessels for Vets who responded immediately!  Sampson’s Shadow has the perfect disposition for this work and has been specifically trained to be calm and responsive to veterans with PTSD, TBI and other injuries.   Gypsy Vanners are particularly good therapeutic horses because of their gentle nature and Sampson will be a critical addition Pine Shadows Farm as veterans enjoy a therapeutic agricultural environment and equine therapy program.  Giving back to other veterans heals us all,” says Harding. “Sampson is a magnificent and unique breed Gypsy Vanner horse. He will be utilized as therapy horse for myself and my fellow veterans on our Texas agritherapy farm. We plan on acquiring a couple other horses with therapeutic personalities. We also plan on having a few goats and a guard llama, all with personalities suitable to be therapy livestock. We will also be doing gardening and some classes on growing vegetables. A regular drum circle and poetry jams. Samson will also help with being a part of our future organic gardening projects.

Read more news in our January 2020 Newsletter



Navy veteran jumpstarts her unique mosaic landscape business with in-kind gift of supplies donated to Work Vessels for Vets by Riverhead Building Supply of Niantic, CT

2019 Vet MONTOYA and partner receive Riverhead donationMYSTIC, CT – DECEMBER 2019 – “We love it when a plan comes together,” exclaimed Cathy Cook, Executive Director of Work Vessels for Vets, the Mystic, CT based charity that awards equipment to injured veterans who are starting a business. “We matched an in-kind donation of $5000 of unneeded landscape pavers for mosaics from Riverhead Building Supply of Niantic with the needs of a Waterford veteran who is starting a unique business "Pieceful Connections." It is a landscape design company focusing on cognitive gardens.”

“I want to teach our children the importance of sustainability and stewardship. When I learned what nature does to help create more complex brain structures in young children, I realized that this is something that needs to be shared,” said Navy veteran Annette Montoya of Waterford, CT.

The large donation to Work Vessels for Vets was delivered to Navy veteran Anette Montoya this week. This is a win-win-win transaction for the donor, the charity and the veteran awardee. The pavers were leftover from UBS when Riverhead bought the Niantic, CT company. These items are not part of the Riverhead product line and they wanted to utilize the space where the pavers were stored.  


Continue Reading


Flags and Footballs contact info 1 600 x 464

Injured Army vet thought his combat injuries dashed his dream of opening a construction business. Now he has started a woodworking business with adaptive equipment from Work Vessels for Vets

“Like many 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 a huge endeavor. Initially, this was devastating to me,” said Army Infantry Captain Justin Morseth of Bloomington, Indiana. He received the Bronze Star with Combat Valor Device “V” for his service in Iraq in 2003. But he also returned with PTSD and TBI and had trouble readjusting to daily life — his days and nights plagued by nightmares and memories of battle trauma. 

“Now I have found a way to still BUILD, but do so on a smaller, more creative scale. I have found renewed hope and am so excited! Thank you thank you thank you, Work Vessels for Vets!!   This is such an incredible gift. I can’t thank you enough!” Capt. Morseth has donated these wooden items for a recent Auction with proceeds to Work Vessels for Vets. They were sold for $1750! Thanks, Justin!      



  • Tcf
  • Ihs
  • Cgb
  • Dime Bank
  • Amvets
  • Newman
  • Ebv
  • Aetna
  • Mbc
  • Valenti
  • Mohegan
  • Cammo
  • Gesswein
  • Homedepot
  • Veterans Farm
  • Tmc
  • Farmer Veteran
  • Wholefoods