Text by Rick McVicar
Disabled veterans are chiseling and sawing their way to create a new form of therapy.
Woodworking has brought a sense of peace to veterans from around the world at Rob Cosman’s Purple Heart Project in Grand Bay, New Brunswick, Canada. Cosman’s website shows how his workshops help those who are either mentally or physically disabled by combat.
The Purple Heart Project’s mission is to bring veterans to the “peace and joy that can be found through the therapy of hand tool woodworking,” the website states.
The organization is featured in a video by the New Brunswick News, found on YouTube, “Woodworking Therapy,” Sept. 17, 2019.
In the video, Cosman states that woodworking “is our way of helping wounded veterans deal with baggage from the war.”
Veteran Trenton Schuman is quoted as saying that woodworking keeps him from thinking “about the destructive stuff that brings you down.”
According to Cosman’s website, The Purple Heart Project hosts six weeklong workshops per year with 36 scholarships being given to disabled veterans. The scholarships include money for transportation, food, lodging, tuition and a tool kit worth $2,000.
Civilians can attend by paying costs themselves. All the workshops for 2022 are sold out.
Cosman has worked with wood for almost his entire life. He studied industrial arts at BYU and has been a custom furniture maker. He has his own tool-making company.
The website states that Cosman founded his organization after meeting a disabled U.S. Marine in 2015 who had found woodworking to be therapeutic. The Purple Heart Project has served veterans from Canada, the United States, England and Australia.
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