Donors turn woodworking into engaging activities for veterans | VA Coatesville Healthcare

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Donors, volunteers and Coatesville Virginia Medical Center staff came together to launch the woodworking program in March.

The main goal is to provide engaging activities for hospitalized veterans suffering from anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Under recreational therapy supervision, veterans who participate in this free woodworking program are provided with the necessary tools and instructions.

Behind the scenes
In response to the need for a complete equipment setup, donors Justamere Foundation and the charity 831 David’s Drive donated two new lathes valued at $12,000, including the necessary hand tools and safety equipment.

The Center for Development and Civic Engagement (CDCE), formerly known as Volunteer Services, recruited volunteer instructors, coordinated the space, planned safety assessments, and developed standard operating procedures.

Mike Kterbach and Thomas Scoot-Davis serve as volunteer instructors and share their woodworking talents by providing basic knowledge and instruction to veterans. Training covers things like how to use equipment, how to properly handle tools, and how to turn blocks of wood into pens and bowls. Veterans, regardless of their skill level, finish each session by completing a project.

Veteran’s turn
The wooden pen was a project of Marine Corps veteran Larry Daniels, who added with a smile that he plans to give the pen he made to his mother. Daniels said, “The most difficult part of this project is learning the right touch, but the instructors are great at explaining techniques.The last time I worked with wood was in high school.” Ta. Daniels praised the program, saying, “Yes, it’s fun. It’s a great experience.”

Richard (Rick) Watson, a Navy veteran, also enjoys the experience and making pens, although he has woodworking experience but has never used a lathe. “I think it will be interesting to see how this lathe works by knowing where and how it cuts,” Watson said.

Both veterans definitely found the woodworking program to be a valuable experience and encourage their colleagues to sign up for this opportunity while at Coatesville VAMC.

We look forward to continuing to promote Recreational Therapy and seeing this free program become popular and grow among veterans.

The woodworking program currently runs every other Friday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

How to get started
Woodturning training and other recreational activities are only possible with the help of volunteers who donate several hours each week to touch the lives of hospitalized veterans.

CDCE is looking for more volunteers for its woodworking shop. If you are interested in volunteering and have knowledge, please contact Jennifer Lilly at 610-383-0272.

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