Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Leather Works

I read an article in the December/January 2016 edition of American Cowboy, a magazine I try to keep up with for my ranch and rodeo novels, about Western organizations that consider it their mission to help wounded warriors--including those with PTSD and traumatic brain injury. Among the training these honorable service people receive are things like rawhide braiding; hat, saddle, and boot making; gun and blade smithing; and even horse training. 

I can see how these would help anyone with PTSD or TBI. It's soothing work. It can't be rushed; concentration is required--and a lot of it is unforgiving, demanding, technical. In some of these trades, a single mistake can foul up the entire project, and it would either have to be discarded or ripped apart so the tradesman can start over. Somehow, I can imagine how this demand for excellence would match the demand for excellence the military expects of their members. 

I remember learning that NFL great Rosey Grier used to knit. In a sport as aggressive as football, Rosey had knitting to center him, settle him. The intricate patterns of tooled leather, the tight braid of the rawhide--I can see how that would settle and center some of our heroes. But it's not just a craft. Through a program called A2E2 (Apprenticeship to Employment & Entrpreneurship, affiliated with the SemperFi Fund), these people turn their training into trades.

My hat's off to these Western organizations who reach out to our wounded warriors. These men and women are still viable and valuable members of our society. 

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"You don't think a woman can ride a bull, do you?"
"No, I don't think you can."
She proved him wrong.

Faith and love are one bull away
(available on Amazon)


  1. I also applaud these organizations that recognize that these heroes who served for all of us deserve help after they return to civilian life. Thank you for calling my attention to this!

    1. I had never heard of these organizations. Wounded Warrior and Gary Sinese's organization get a lot of attention, but I'd never heard of these. True cowboy fashion, I guess. Quietly doing what needs to be done!

  2. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you for sharing your wonderful post. It is always wonderful to visit Stitches!

  4. I know that I find knitting very relaxing.

    There is such an art to the leather work.

  5. What a great post! My husband suffers from PTSD and I always like hearing about how different organizations try to help the disabled vets.