On July 4, support these wood businesses that help veterans gain skills
July 2, 2017 | 2:31 pm CDT
ROGERS, AR - EcoVet Furniture, which reclaims maple and oak wood planks from Sam's Club and Walmart truck trailers and turns them into tables and chairs, has steadily expanded its operations, opening a retail center and furnishing a work for the new 8W retail and office complex in Bentonville in 2017.
It also provided the furnishing for the 1st-floor food court and the conference tables for the 6th floor Jack Link’s offices, as well as the wall and ceiling concept.
"Our veterans have once again delivered the highest standard of craftsmanship," says the general manager Mike Page.  
Based in Rogers, AR, EcoVet describes itself as a "military veteran transition company," and is among a number of wood manufacturing enterprises around the country that have made training and employment of veterans their mission.
Another high profile operation is Flags of Valor, which creates reclaimed wood flags that are handsome additions to any decore - and a good training ground for its vets. Founder Brian Steorts, himself a veteran, was named a Wood Industry 40 Under 40 winner in 2016 for his work there.
Lamon Luthor custom woodworkng, founded by executive director Bryan Preston, has been providing jobs to give the homeless a “hand-up, not a handout.” Preston was named a Market Leader for 2016 for his efforts. 
Prior to the 2012 startup, Preston learned of a community of homeless men near Atlanta. Having experienced firsthand the effects of the housing crash and economic downturn, and determined to help, Preston met with some of the men and learned of their woodworking skills. That led to the founding of Lamon Luther, named in honor of his grandfather Lamon Luther Wilson, from whom he learned woodworking as a child.

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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for WoodworkingNetwork.com, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for WoodworkingNetwork.com.

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.