For Michael, retired USMC Master Sergeant, discovering the Semper Fi Fund’s Apprenticeship program has quite literally saved his life.
While serving in the Marine Corps as a test Crew Chief on the v22 Osprey Developmental Team, Michael experienced two traumatic brain injuries, both in 2005. These injures had long-term effects including an epileptic seizure disorder and a non-epileptic seizure disorder. Since his retirement from the Marines, his disabilities made it impossible for him to take on a typical job.
“During my time at home, I started to become extremely depressed and my PTSD symptoms increased,” Michael states. “That’s when my wife found the Semper Fi Fund’s Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program (JMHP)”. Michael’s wife, Jessica, has a love for horses and thought her husband could benefit from the calming nature of a horse. Michael attended his first JMHP clinic in Arizona last October, and that’s where he found his passion for leather smithing during a nightly “cowboy crafting” session. “This has been my life saver. JMHP staff member Mo Smith took me under his wing and guided me in a direction to be a better man not only for myself and my whole family, but society as well. After learning about leather smithing at the JMHP clinic, I dove in head first and I haven’t looked back.”
Over the last four months through the Apprenticeship program, Michael has created his own home-based business called Leatherneck Leather Goods where he makes high quality custom leather goods.
“I have found a new lease on life though the Apprenticeship Program. I can’t wait to continue learning, and hopefully one day soon, I can teach the next young apprentice.”