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Work Vessels for Vets Awards $200,000 in 2020 to Injured Veterans

All Across America, 30 New Veteran Businesses & Veteran-Serving Nonprofits Received Equipment in 2020

MYSTIC, CT.   Work Vessels for Vets is proud to announce that thirty injured veteran-owned businesses and veteran-serving nonprofits in across America have received $200,000 in equipment, support and emergency funds in 2020. Work Vessels for Vets is a Mystic, Connecticut-based national charity that gives equipment to wounded veterans who are starting a business. Since 2008 this volunteer-run charity has awarded more than $3.2 million in equipment to 2200 veteran-entrepreneurs across America.

“On this Veterans Day 2020, we thank America’s veterans for their service. And Work Vessels for Vets is also grateful for the hundreds of donors who helped us offer a “hand up” to send much needed equipment and support to a record number of veteran-entrepreneurs and veteran-serving nonprofits this year,” said John Niekrash, President and co-founder of the charity.

“2020 has been a challenging year for everyone.,” noted Cathy Cook, Executive Director of Work Vessels for Vets. “Small businesses everywhere are facing extreme and unprecedented income interruptions, loss of business contracts and the pain of letting new hires go. Many start-ups do not qualify for federal financial aid programs. These hardships are more acute for injured veteran businesses whose owners are also facing personal challenges coping with disabilities, compromised health conditions, and living with PTSD.”

Work Vessels for Vets saw the need to offer a “hand up” once again. And donors stepped up to make it happen.

Work Vessels for Vets purchased $8000 of drones for USMC Major David Daly’s PTSD therapy nonprofit based in San Diego area, Vigilante Cares.   A 2001 Naval Academy graduate, Daly served 4 tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, sustaining severe combat injuries. Maj. Daly found relief from his PTSD when flying drones so he turned to WVFV to bring drones to fellow veterans battling PTSD and injuries so they can escape what troubles them on the ground by soaring with drones above.

“We awarded several tractors to veteran-farmers and UTVs to those too injured to climb up on a tractor. We sent $500 to $1500 grants to several veteran-farmers to buy seeds, feed or to pay veterinarian bills for new lambs or calves, etc.   The pandemic hurt many of the new farms when their restaurant or school cafeteria contracts cancelled for meat, produce and eggs. And social distancing has closed farmers markets,” offered Cathy Cook, Executive Director.

National Guard Sgt Lucas Papineau in Vermont used his award to buy a freezer to expand products for his veteran-run farmers market. Army Major Robert Jones of Glenburn, Maine used his $500 grant to buy hundreds of seedlings to plant a veterans’ victory garden to feed dozens of families in need. Army Captain Frank Ritz used his emergency grant to purchase solar powered poultry fencing to expand his Barnardsville, North Carolina farm.

Micky Doto, a veteran farmer in Mayslanding, New Jersey received an auger attachment to the tractor he had previously received from Work Vessels for Vets. Now he can complete fencing his expanded fields and grow more produce for new markets. And Capt. Michael Martucci of Wise, Virginia was able to expand his operation to build coops and fencing for the 100 turkeys he is adding to his farm.

“Our non-farm veteran-owned businesses have issues with cancelled contracts and loss of cash flow to buy raw materials or pay employees. They are asking for small financial assistance and help to open online markets,” explained Cathy Cook, Executive Director of Work Vessels for Vets. “We refer them to federal grants, but many of these new businesses can’t qualify or face red tape that is too daunting for veterans with PTSD.”

“This assistance has made all the difference in keeping us going through these tough times. Now we can purchase larger quantities of materials to complete contracts for high-quality items at affordable prices,” says veteran Rodney Plettner, of Coastal Wood Company, a Niantic, Connecticut online furniture business.

SSG Terry Flannery of Union, Kentucky received a new commercial miter table from Work Vessels for Vets. He refocused his business and opened a woodworking and design shop.

 “I was forced to sell my drone that I use for my aerial video business,” said Army 2LT Kyle Stewart of Mickleton, New Jersey. “I had to cancel several contracts and missed out on new opportunities. This grant means I can purchase the drone I need to get back in operation.”

SGT Joyce Carter of Raeford, North Carolina opened her specialty beauty salon in February this year. After six weeks in business, she followed the orders to shutter her shop, causing deep financial hardship for her and her five children. “Words cannot express the feeling I have for WVFV,” she wrote. “To open up and be closed back up had started making me feel down. I have been keeping faith in God! Thank you WVFV for your support! I love you guys from my soul!”       (Kyle Stewart with drone)

Work Vessels for Vets, Inc. outfits America’s injured veterans with the equipment they need to start a business. Since 2008, the volunteers at Work Vessels for Vets, Inc. have offered a “hand up” to more than 2200 disabled veterans in all 50 states and provided equipment valued well over $3.2 million. Learn more at www.WVFV.org   The charity has earned the highest national ratings from Great Nonprofits, GuideStar and the Better Business Bureau. The administrative overhead is under 1% with 99% of all donations going directly to veteran applicants.

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