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Volunteers Help Injured Veterans Through WoodworkingBack to Press Releases
PARKERSBURG, WV (March 2009) – Many injured veterans spend countless hours in the hospital wiling away the time between doctor visits and rehabilitation appointments. A Virginia organization, however, offers patients at Walter Reed Army Hospital woodworking classes which provide healing veterans a cathartic and engaging activity.

Hank Cloutier, a Sterling, Virginia resident, and other members of the Northern Virginia Woodcarvers Association, have been helping veterans learn woodworking for many years.

“Woodworking is very therapeutic,” Cloutier said. “Working with your hands, creating something yourself, I believe not only gives our wounded veterans something to pass the time, but helps them on their road to recovery and provides a sense of accomplishment.”

Cloutier, who is a veteran of the United States Air Force, has been a woodworker for over 40 years. In addition to his work with the woodcarvers association, he is a woodworking instructor at the Leesburg, Virginia Woodcraft store. Woodcraft is a national retailer of woodworking tools and supplies. He is also involved in a variety of woodworking initiatives for veterans, including the Eagle Cane Project – a national initiative which creates and distributes hand carved eagle head canes to injured veterans. Each cane is personalized with the soldiers name, rank and military medals and awards.

“Our current schedule of woodworking classes began in early January and we have received great response from the vets,” Cloutier said. “The classes are held twice a month at The Mologne House Hotel on Walter Reed. The program starts with basic safety and carving techniques, and then to carving small objects such as cowboy boots. As their skills progress, many of our vets look forward to carving their own Eagle heads.”

Each of the programs’ current participants will receive a woodcarving/whittling kit from Woodcraft.

“As a company, Woodcraft has a history of assisting members of the military on active duty,” Cloutier said. “The company conducts an annual Veterans Day Turn For Troops Pen Turn-a-thon at their 80 stores nationwide. Over the last five years the project has resulted in more than 35,000 high quality wooden pens being sent to our troops overseas.”

For additional information on the Northern Virginia Woodcarvers Association’s work with injured veterans or for more information on Woodcraft (www.woodcraft.com), please contact Bryan Brown at (304) 546-5500.