WHEN A GIFT IS MORE THAN A PIECE OF EQUIPMENT

January 2024    Sometimes it is the vets own words that remind us at Work Vessels for Vets why we do what we do.  With the help of a thousand or more of our donors.  We also thank Pioneer Motorcycles for their assistance in obtaining a 2016 John Deere Gator for SGT Bivens.  Thank you.  

"In December of 2004 I was wounded by a suicide bomber in a chow hall in Mosul Iraq. I'm trying to start a small-scale farm and my current situation is not allowing me to be able to operate safely around my 38-acre farm without struggling with my disabilities. If a UTV with a dump bed is granted, It will allow me to safely haul beekeeping equipment and other farm equipment from my house to my apiary and other parts of the farm that are currently inaccessible. It will also help me with my disabilities to be able to continue and grow my bee and egg producing chicken operation and eventually allow me to turn it in to a full-time business and get other disabled Veterans around my apiaries that are interested in Beekeeping and mentor them,"  gratefully yours, SGT Daniel Bivens.

HAPPINESS IS A DUMP TRUCK USCG (ret) CPO Schon Russell

January 2024    US Coast Guard CPO Schon Russell of RI spent a career on CG aircraft or ships up and down America's shorelines.   After working with a local construction company, he spun off to create a new business digging trenches and landscaping for commercial and residential customers in RI.   WVFV helped him get going with a Ford F350 Mason dump truck.  

“I started a job with a landscape company, I quickly moved up from laborer to General manager,"  wrote Russell.  “I honed my skills and learned everything I could from running a business from the owner. As the company started cutting corners and not running at a standard I would like to hold myself and the people that worked for me I believed it was time to start my business. It was harder than I thought but for the family I wouldn't quit or not put in 100%.”

He noted, “I created Doc’s Excavation because there are a lot of excavation companies in Rhode Island, however a very small amount can focus on the residential needs due to their size of equipment. I really researched to ensure that our competition was not a ton of opposition per say.  This donation to us for our Mason dump truck is overwhelming to say the least. It is going to open so many doors and make our processes so much easier and efficient.”

Gratefully, Schon Russell said to WVFV and our donors,  “ I can not thank you enough. I am humbled by your generosity and care for someone you don't even know.”

inspiring Chicago vet and his "new" truck for delivery business

2022 WILSON Jason and Ford truck 2

JULY 2022. CHICAGO., IL   Army SGT Jason W. (l)  of Chicago waited on the WVFV waiting list for nearly a year for the right truck to come along.  He started a transportation business for intercity courier services and same day deliveries.  Here he is taking the keys to a Ford F-259 Diesel truck that will help this patient vet who was wounded in Iraq as he starts a new civilian business.  Rock on, Jason!  

Marine amputee with SUV

USMC Amputee Receives Gift of SUV from Fallen Marine’s Estate

USMC Amputee Receives new lease on life with gift of SUV from Fallen Marine’s Estate

Every once in a while, Work Vessels for Vets helps out a fellow veteran-serving organization with a problem.  Recently, WVFV facilitated the transfer of a GMC SUV from the estate of a fallen Marine to a wounded veteran in need.  Help Our Military Heroes, Inc., a Connecticut  based, national nonprofit, arranged for the vehicle to be donated to Work Vessels for Vets by the father of a fallen hero who wanted the vehicle to go to a fellow Marine in need.  So despite complications of dealing with estate & income tax forms, and a flutter of forms for two state Motor Vehicles Departments, the SUV is now safely in the hands of a Marine coming back from the brink, the family has honored the fallen Marine's final wishes and we are proud to have helped make it all happen.  

Work Vessels for Vets is a unique national charity, based in Mystic, Connecticut.  No other nonprofit is solely dedicated to equipping a veteran-owned start up business.  Since 2008, the awards have ranged from commercial fishing boats to farm tractors, skid loaders, hay balers, trucks, trailers, UTVs, drones, electronics, tools, and even a therapy horse!  More than 2500 veterans across all 50 states have received equipment valued at over $3.5 million from this award-winning group of volunteers from southeastern Connecticut.     

Learn more and read stories about our injured veteran awardees at www.WVFV.org

WVFV AND SEMPER FI FUND PURCHASE $27,000 HAY BALER FOR VET WITH TBI

21 REYNOLDS resize with calf and daugher“I was not born a farmer. I suppose that I am someone who was once a Soldier and Paramedic who now farms. Every morning I wake up and have to face the reality following a traumatic brain and other injuries in Iraq that I am no longer a soldier. Due to my injuries, I am also no longer able to get a job as a fire fighter or a paramedic. Five years after my 2009, injuries in Iraq, I went on a quest to become something. I had a few options, I could be a coach potato, a nuisance to society, or I could get off my tail and become something, ANYTHING. It was then that farming found me. Since that day, each day…farming saves my life,” says MSG Reynolds of his new mission.

 

 

Work Vessels for Vets, a nonprofit with the mission to equip injured veteran-entrepreneurs,  partnered with the Semper Fi Fund to purchase a $27,000 hay baler for an injured Army veteran in Calhoun, GA.  Master Sergeant Mike Reynolds joined the Army and spent 18 years protecting and defending the USA. During his service in Iraq his ambulance was involved in an attack, and he suffered a traumatic brain injury that ultimately ended his military and emergency services careers. Every  soldier needs a mission, and Mike searched until he found a new one. Now he, his wife Kim, and their two children own and operate, Hero Cuts@Reynolds Farm.  Mike is building his herd of beef cattle and other livestock and  hopes to soon be able to give other disabled veterans opportunities to find new purpose after their military service has ended--through on-farm training.  

“While in Iraq,” said Reynolds, who entered the military as a trained paramedic, “I saved lives and had the chance to show compassion to so many families of a war ravaged nation. I worked tirelessly to save our own service members who were sick and injured. Then, I got hurt. Who does the medic in charge ofthe medics call when he is hurt?  On that morning in 2009, I would become the patient. The thing that I had not really feared for 18 years of military service stopped me in my tracks. Three and a half years of doctors appointments and hospitalizations would follow…and coming home would create the greatest struggle I had ever faced. With the need for a new mission, I found farming. At one point my goal was to simply make it to tomorrow, sober, not in a prescription drug fog and alive.”

MSGT Reynolds recalled his long road to a new mission, “I remember not being able to see past tomorrow. Now, when asked about long-range plans, I have some! Looking forward to the success of a 3 to 5 year plan is a reasonable goal. I have met my new challenges and limitations and turned them from mountains into speed bumps. No longer am I hindered by my own disabilities. Now, I have a 20 year plan!”

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