Canes For Veterans Central Texas holding fundraiser at Camp Caylor in Copperas Cove
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Canes for Veterans Central Texas will be holding a fundraising event next month on Saturday, August 14, at Camp Caylor.
The event starts at noon and runs all afternoon and evening. There will be live music, food trucks, bounce houses, raffles, games and more. The event is free and open to the public.
Canes For Veterans Central Texas Founder Jamie Willis said he hopes to raise enough money to build a workshop so he can move Canes for Veterans Central Texas from his garage. He said he has raised half of the amount needed and is hoping the fundraiser event will help push him further to his goal.
Some of the items that will be raffled off include an Americana painting, a flag donated by U.S. Congressman Roger Williams, a fishing trip for two, a $200 gift certificate to Chris Bailey at Forever Tattoos, several bottles of wine, a one month gift card for GymKix, a free-range pass for EJI Firearms, four $50 American Express gift cards, a handmade duck call, a handmade porch swing, a custom-made knife, a Leupold Red Dot Sight and an AR-15 with a .458 SOCOM barrel, according to Willis.
Live music will include local Texan musicians Mojo Griggs, the Backroads Band, Greg Showman and the Back Creek Band, Justin Bravo, Travis Hill Music and the Jason Custer Band at 8 p.m.
In addition to the food trucks, there are spots for up to 10 vendor tables. If people are interested in being a vendor, they should reach out to Canes for Veterans Central Texas at 254-394-3150. The cut-off date for vendors is August 7.
Willis started Canes for Vets Central Texas back in 2016 after the aluminum cane he received from the Department of Veterans Affairs ended up breaking. Willis began searching for different canes and found Florida-based organization Free Canes for Veterans, run by Navy veteran Oscar De Vere Morris III. Willis learned how to make his own cane from Morris and then made another and another. More than five years later, Willis has a website and order form plus a waiting list for his canes.
The canes are custom made from Christmas trees, cedar trees and other types of trees. Each tree is stripped of the branches and sanded down before receiving personalization such as a decal and then is coated in an epoxy resin.
In December 2019, Willis received more than 1,000 trees from local businesses and residents to use for canes, which prompted him to set a goal of 1,000 canes for 2020. Canes for Veterans Central Texas was flooded with requests for canes, and at the beginning of 2021, Willis and his volunteers were still working on fulfilling those requests.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of volunteers dwindled down at times, and Willis was left to do the work by himself. The process to make the canes is also a long one, since the trees must be completely dried to be used, which has also led to the delay.
Willis said that Canes for Veterans has sent out over 550 canes as of early July.
For more information on Canes for Veterans Central Texas, visit their website: The organization’s website is https://canesforveteranscentex.org/.