Desert Storm Army Veteran Recycles Christmas Trees Into Canes
Willis said, "It’s not about me, it’s about the veterans, getting the canes out to all my brother and sisters out there."
It’s actually incredible to see that after sacrificing so much while serving the country — veterans still find it in them to support their fellow soldiers.
Jamie Willis, 50 is a Desert Storm vet who suffered a back injury during his eight years of service. After the Veterans Affairs hospital gave him a diagnosis of 100-percent disability, Willis has since relied on a cane to walk — and it has inspired his non-profit, Canes for Veterans Central Texas.
Willis started making canes out of recycled Christmas trees back in 2016. Since then, he’s made more than 200 and given them all away.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the veterans, getting the canes out to all my brother and sisters out there,” Willis said. “It starts with one cane, make one cane and give it away.”
The veteran called on his community toward the end of the Christmas season to donate their trees so he could make more canes in 2020. The community responded quickly, donating more than 1,000 trees to the non-profit.
“The community has been great, they have shown so much love and support for this and without them there is no way this could have happened,” Willis said. “This has spread like wildfire, pretty much.”
After the trees are donated, crews will cut off the limbs and leave the trees to dry out. Once the trees dried, Willis will strip the bark off and attach handles to them, add coats of polyurethane and ship them off to people in need. Willis said he learned the process from Oscar De Vere Morris, the owner of a group called Free Canes for Veterans.
Stores including Lowe’s and The Home Depot also donated to Willis. The Home Depot told Fox News: “… Because veterans are such a big part of our own company culture, we understand the importance of serving those who have served us all…”