Woodcraft Supports Patriot Woodworker Fundraiser for Wounded Warrior Family

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James Bassett with his wife, Michelle, with sons, Aiden and Dalen (left to right), in an earlier photo.

The Patriot Woodworker organization is asking the public to support a fundraiser that will make the Christmas holiday brighter for a severely wounded veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and his family. Woodcraft is one of three retailers sponsoring the project.

Each year The Patriot Woodworker adopts a family through Operation Ward 57, a nonprofit organization that supports wounded, injured and ill service members, veterans and their caregivers with outreach programs. The 2018 family includes Army Specialist 4 James Bassett, his wife Michelle and sons, Dalen, 15, and Aiden, 14, from Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Bassetts will be treated to a Christmas dinner, and gifts will be purchased for the children using the proceeds of a raffle now underway that will continue through 4 p.m. Jan. 1. The goal is $1,500. Visit this link for more information about purchasing raffle tickets.

Prizes include: a WoodRiver Spindle Sander and Rikon 8" Slow Speed Grinder from Woodcraft, a $500 Laguna Gift Certificate, and Easy Wood Tools Easy Full-size 3-Piece Turning Tool Set. Four names will be randomly drawn by Raffle River, and prizes will be awarded in the order of the names drawn, starting with Laguna, then Easy Wood Tools, Rikon and WoodRiver.

“Christmas presents will be purchased for the family in time for Christmas even though the raffle ends New Year’s Day,” John Morris, Patriot Woodworker founder, said. “I will purchase the Christmas list even if we have not hit our goal yet, and we’ll just cross our fingers that our community and guests come through by the end of the year!”

Four raffle ticket holders will receive these prizes after a random drawing.

The Bassett Family 

James Bassett completed Basic Training and Advance Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He was stationed at the U.S. Army base at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and attached to multiple units under the 214th Fires Brigade. His combat deployments during Operation Enduring Freedom were to United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait while he was in Unit 214. His unit was the first live HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) ever fired in the UAE. 

He suffers from Avascular Necrosis in his right leg (dead bones); Pleural Scarring (Diffuse Pleural Thickening) on both lungs due to the fine metals he was breathing while in country for nine months; Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which has affected his impulse control and resulted in little to no short term memory capabilities; and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Bassett wears braces from mid-thigh to calf, as well as ankle and foot braces on both legs. 

“James and I met online through a cancer support community,” Mrs. Bassett shared. “He is a leukemia survivor, and I am a two-time breast cancer survivor. Right after we started communicating he joined the military. James is a 40-year old Army Veteran who served a combat deployment that forever changed our lives. He is an amazingly strong man who battles mental and physical disabilities daily but still gives 100% for his family.”

James Bassett with his sons, Dalen (left) and Aiden.

“Dalen will be 15 years old and definitely marches to his own drum,” Mrs. Bassett said. “He is a self-proclaimed nerd and proud of it. He joined a Dungeons & Dragons club at school and has been enjoying that. He wants to design video games and loves computer graphics as he gets older. He has great taste in music (Johnny Cash, Jimmy Buffet, Billy Joel and lots of 80s), so I feel I'm doing something right!”

Describing her other son, Mrs. Bassett said, “Aiden will be 14 years old in about a month and is the typical ‘cool kid’. He loves all typical teen boys stuff. He has recently started showing an interest in photography and has been taking pics on an old cell phone of mine. He is a jokester, but such a sweet kid and loves volunteering with James and I.”

Champion for Caregivers and Veterans 

In addition to providing daily care for James and looking after the needs of her sons, Mrs. Bassett is active in the Elizabeth Dole Foundation that offers support for the millions of caregivers serving the nation’s wounded, ill and injured veterans, and volunteers with another support organization, Operation Homefront, and its Caregiver Support Group, Hearts of Valor

“The Elizabeth Dole Foundation brings awareness to the community on the everyday life and struggles of our Military and Veteran Caregivers,” Mrs. Bassett explained. “Every state has a ‘Fellow,’ to advocate and fight for the rights our Veterans and Caregivers deserve. I am the State of Nevada Fellow. Every year all the Fellows head to Washington, D.C., for a week. We then ‘Storm the Hill’ and have private meetings with our House Representatives members and Senators and talk to them about what we need done.”

US Army 214th Fires Brigade Unit Combat Service Identification Badge, left; Army Specialist 4 James Bassett; and 214th Fires Brigade Unit Crest, right. Bassett served in the 214th Brigade.

The Price of Military Service 

Quotes by Michelle Bassett on the Hidden Heroes website (part of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation programs) offer insight into how military service can impact a veteran’s family. At the beginning of the “My Story” section, Mrs. Bassett lists her husband’s medical conditions and then explains: “I am responsible for assisting him with his activities of daily living and all of his personal hygiene. I monitor his daily medications as well as any and all appointments. I am responsible for all household duties.”

What are the most significant lessons you have learned from being a caregiver?
“Patience is key. Navigating a TBI is like watching the movie Groundhog Day over and over again. My husband doesn’t remember a lot of our conversations or activities, so I am in constant repeat mode.”

How has your life changed since you became a caregiver?
“My life has drastically changed since becoming a military caregiver. I am no longer able to just up and go. Everything takes planning and replanning because the situation can change so quickly.”

The Patriot Woodworker is a woodworking community with an emphasis on sharing and learning the skilled craft of woodworking and all of its related disciplines. Although the group supports veterans and active duty military personnel both here in the United States and in Canada, being a veteran is not a prerequisite to join.

For more information about the Bassetts and The Patriot Woodworker, visit this link

Saying Thank You with More than Words

Words cannot adequately convey the kind of appreciation we should all have for James Bassett and his family, along with the thousands of other military personnel and their families who have served and are serving to protect our nation. This raffle – and many other fundraisers that benefit veterans – offer an opportunity to do more.

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  • JM from San Jacinto
    Thank you Woodcraft from the bottom of our collective hearts for your support in The Patriot Woodworker, and most importantly your support for the Bassett family this year. Thank you! John Morris

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