You always see a ton of discarded Christmas trees dragged out onto driveways to be hauled off by garbage trucks after the holidays. I’ve never really thought about what comes next for this near-endless supply of trees, but I suppose they just decompose in the dump, releasing CO2 back into the atmosphere.
That’s not what happens to (some of) the trees in Copperas Cove, Texas, however. One local man has found a creative and important use for some of these old trees.
Jamie Willis is an Army veteran, and he’s asking people to send their old Christmas trees his way because he turns the trees into canes for fellow veterans who need mobility aids – and for other folks who require canes as well.
I'm happy you like the cane. Thanks for sharing your picture brother.
Willis’ cause is called Canes for Veterans Central Texas and he’s made about 200 canes so far. Willis said, “The whole process, it’s just done off donations. I make the canes myself. Everything’s done out of pocket.”
This is the second year that Jamie Willis has reached out for tree donations, and he has been overwhelmed with this year’s response. He said, “It’s been an outpouring of donations this year, more than I ever thought I would get. Home Depot flooded me with trees, they’re sending me 400, and the rest of the community will be giving me about another 100 trees.”
Willis said he usually takes an entire day to make one cane. He got the idea to start making his own because the one he was given by Veterans Affairs kept collapsing on him, and he didn’t trust it. So he reached out to an organization in Florida called Free Canes for Veterans.
The man behind that organization, Army veteran Oscar Morris, told Willis they didn’t have any more canes and instead taught Willis how to make his own. Willis then asked if he could branch off of that organization and start his own canes-for-veterans nonprofit in Texas, and Morris gave him his blessing.
Mr. Paul Miles and cane #209 standing tall. Another veteran brother who I met while at a local tire shop. And after talking with him we were honored to make him a cane. Much love and respect go out to you sir.
Morris said that Jamie Willis is the fifth veteran to start their own branch of Free Canes for Veterans. Great work by all!