Acts of Kindness

Retired soldier helps other vets walk tall with canes he makes from donated Christmas trees

May 21st, 2021

Jamie Willis, a U.S. Army veteran based out of Texas, began his own cane-making business completely funded from his own pocket and community donations. After suffering from several debilitating injuries during his time of service, Willis was left unable to work.

After eight years in service, he was left as a 100% disabled veteran, but he didn’t let that stop him!

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Pexels Source: Pexels

In 2016, Willis began Canes for Veterans Central Texas, with the mission of creating custom canes for veterans in need.

He began this business purely as an effort to help other veterans like himself. He wasn’t in search of a hobby or huge profits, rather he realized that tons of veterans out there probably desired canes a bit more functional and stylish than the ones they were discharged with.

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Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas Source: Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas

After his cane from Veterans Affairs failed him one too many times, he stumbled upon the group Free Canes for Veterans, hoping that maybe they had a cane to spare.

To his dismay, the organization was out of canes, but Oscar Morris, the brains behind the organization, gave Willis the next best thing – he taught him how to make a cane.

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Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas Source: Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas

After successfully making his very own cane, Willis asked Morris if he could begin a branch of the organization based in central Texas. Receiving nothing but encouragement from Morris, Willis began Canes for Veterans Central Texas.

Willis became the 5th veteran known to start their own branch of the Free Canes for Veterans program.

This is proof enough that one simple act of kindness can transform lives. After receiving their canes, each of the five veterans set off to help other veterans in need.

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Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas Source: Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas

Currently, Willis has made over 200 canes. He’s even become an international success, with many canes going to veterans abroad!

But you may be wondering, how exactly does Willis produce these canes, and where does he get the funding for this project? The answer is simple and quite festive:

Willis uses donated Christmas trees to make the canes!

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Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas Source: Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas

Willis has now had three consecutive years of Christmas tree donations!

As the season for giving, we can only hope that Willis’s organization continues to grow and prosper with each holiday season. He even received donations from both Lowes and The Home Depot! We can’t wait to see how many trees he gets this next year. We like to think that donating your Christmas tree will likely give you a jumpstart on the next year’s nice list…

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Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas Source: Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas

Other than paying the shipping and handling fees, the veterans receive their canes free of charge.

If the shipping fees are still too much, Willis will often cover the expenses out of pocket or from donations. He wants veterans to have a fully functional cane that isn’t also a complete eyesore, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to ensure veterans get what they need.

One cane requires about one full tree and an entire day of labor to make.

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Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas Source: Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas

Willis takes much pride in his work. By manufacturing agile and suave-looking canes, he is doing his part to make the world a bit better off.

In 2020, Willis received a Congressional Record for his organization’s service to the nation.

Canes for Veterans Central Texas has given hundreds of hand-made canes to veterans, and this only just their beginning! The organization continues to grow and thrive with each new year.

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Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas Source: Facebook - Canes for Veterans Central Texas

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Source: CNN, Canes for Veterans Central Texas

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