Military nonprofit offers skills to wounded veterans to learn a trade in spur-making

The Eagle | by | April 2022 | Link to Article

A group of 11 veterans from all over the U.S. gathered in the Community Center of Centerville on Thursday as part of a weeklong clinic to craft and create a set of spurs through the military nonprofit Semper FI & America’s Fund, which serves 27,500 combat-wounded or critically ill or injured veterans.

This year’s members will finish their clinic today and head back to their hometowns Saturday. This is the fifth year the clinic has been put on after taking a break the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marine Corps veteran John Mayer, who served for 33 years and was a commander of the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regimen from 2010 to 2012, hopes to help wounded veterans find their place in the world.

Mayer is senior director of the Semper Fi & America’s Fund Apprenticeship and the Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program, which serves to help service members reintegrate into communities through short-term vocational education and apprenticeships. This one-week clinic is held to give combat-wounded veterans a chance to learn a skill or trade in metal shaping, forging, engraving, welding, leather smithing and other vocational skills in order to take what they learned and carry it back home with them, Mayer said.

“What we say to the veteran is ‘If you can dream it and we can figure out how to train you, we will take you on,’” he said. “Our goal isn’t so much to see that they [only] become a profitable business … but it is more about helping them find a purpose in life.”

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