ODESSA, De. (WTXF) - The Veterans Watchmaker initiative strives to give veterans, especially disabled veterans, the tools and skills they need to get an in demand and high paying job.
FOX 29's Photojournalist Bill Rohrer has the story.
They are located in Odessa Delaware. Anyone who served in the military has the opportunity to become a master watchmaker, for free, through the Veterans Watchmaker Initiative.
“Having taught matchmaking for a long time now. If you come to me and you have one eye and one arm and you have the passion in you… We can overcome anything and make you a watchmaker,” says Veterans Watchmaker Initiative chairman Sam Cannan.
Cannan mirrored the idea from the Joseph Bulova school of watchmaking. A program which taught disabled veterans returning home from World War II how to repair mechanical watches. The invention of Quartz watches eventually caused the school to close in the early 90’s.
Chairman Sam Cannan explains, “It may have been buggy whips or wagon wheels. You don’t need watchmakers everyone has cell phones. That’s true they all have cell phones. But you also have the lawyer, the doctor that spends 75 thousand for a watch and he wants it fixed.”
This is the first group of veterans to complete the initial 5 1/2 week long course. Their final exam involves putting together their very own quartz watch.
Marine Giancarlo LaRusso says watchmaking has given him a fresh start since returning home.
“You come back with a lot of culture shock and that can be tough and I think a lot of guys have issues dealing with that and that is one thing this program does. It completely takes you out of everything and puts you into this tiny little world.”
“When you reach down inside one of these guys and after knowing what they’ve been through and you turned that light on. You ignite that passion in them... that is better than 100,000 dollars a year for me,” says Chairman Sam Cannan.
The Veterans Watchmaker initiative is looking to get a bigger space so they can teach and house more Veterans. Please donate, on their website!