January 13, 2020

Texas man uses donated Christmas trees to make free canes for veterans
Jamie Willis takes Christmas trees that are headed for the landfill and turns them into sturdy canes for veterans in need.Willis served in the U.S. Army for eight years, and a back injury he sustained during his time in the military left him disabled. In 2016, after receiving a cane from Veterans Affairs that didn't work for him, he asked the Free Canes for Veterans organization if they could help with a new one. They didn't have any canes available, but the group's leader, Oscar Morris, told Willis he would be happy to show him how to carve his own cane.Encouraged by his success, Willis decided to make more canes for other veterans, and launched a Free Canes for Veterans chapter in central Texas. He uses pieces of scrap wood to make the canes, and this holiday season, received 1,500 donated Christmas trees. He now has a team of 60 volunteers, and their goal for 2020 is to produce 1,000 canes. Veterans can request designs and words on their canes, and passing them out is "a great feeling," Willis told CBS News. "It's like they stand prouder. It brings an overwhelming joy back to them and to me."

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