Retired USMC Master Sergeant finds new lease on life through Apprenticeship

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.”