Meadow Lakes Rod Shop Operation Employ Veterans

Campaign Created by: Meadow Lakes Rod Shop
Tax ID number: 87-2730682

The funds from this campaign will be received by Meadow Lakes Rod Shop.

Goal : USD $150,000
Raised : USD $ 2,375

https://pitch.liveplan.com/pgBcP/aUpfa 

My name is John McFalls. I joined the U.S. Army from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, to attend automotive school (WTI, UTI, or something similar) and build cars. I kept re-enlisting and ended up serving an entire 20-year career. Now that I'm out, there are other challenges we (veterans) are running into, which even surprised me. We propose using this business as a solution to some of these challenges. 

 

I fell into the perfect job as a Team Leader of a real estate team here in Alaska. I got out of the Army and made good money though struggling to make sense of life without the Army. I had spent my entire adult life in the military, and getting out was quite the shock. Even after making it into the top 100 Real Estate Teams in the State of Alaska with only two producers, I was still so depressed that I couldn't make sense of things. I didn't have a purpose, and I didn't have anyone to share my feeling. I felt utterly alone and invisible. Real estate did not bring me the joy and sense of accomplishment that I should have been feeling for my team's achievements. 

 

My struggles were compounded by how other real estate professionals treated people…  The scripting and narratives being used to acquire business or recruits felt wrong, and I didn't feel comfortable using them. After spending 20 years jumping out of airplanes and surviving five combat deployments, I started to think that every struggle I encountered was due to a failure of some of my part. We have this mentality that civilian life should be easy compared to what we have been through, and when we can't make sense of it when we are out, it leads to some of the issues we encounter. 

I propose to employ veterans struggling with employment or fear of jobs due to the unique issues we face as Veterans and give them a purpose through rebuilding and restoring old cars. PTSD, the anxiety of being around people, and the fear of losing a job due to medical appointments (more along the lines of if you go to sick call, you're weak type mentality.) These are just a few of the reasons this population can come up with. I briefly mentioned my challenges previously faced.

 

Most of us have spent our entire adult lives learning how to destroy everything. I was in the infantry...  Most folks have heard me say my little adage: If you took two infantrymen and locked them into a room with two bowling balls, you could guarantee three things. They will lose one bowling ball, find a game to play with the other bowling ball, and you will probably get hurt playing the game...  We used to call it pushball in the Army!

 

Many have already fallen to this emotional turmoil and depression through suicide. In December, I talked my old roommate out of suicide by police officer situation after his demons became too much to endure. He is safe, and so are the officers that responded. On the other hand, we have lost an "American Badass" like Col Scott Green, a Field Grade commissioned officer, and my Brigade Commander. There are countless more, but these last two have shifted our focus gears.  

With funding, Meadow Lakes Rod Shop will be set to complete our equipment and material needs and employ 7 to 8 vets. Most of these guys (and one gal) are struggling with finding purpose or just not able to feel like they belong in the civilian employment sector. Some of these folks are employed but are looking for what they had in their "old unit," the "crew" they had at a specific duty assignment or deployed with. We (Veterans) need the company/community or camaraderie, but it isn't enough. Even when we have people around us, we don't have a focused purpose that everyone around us is bought into. Additionally, most of us don't know what we want to be when we grow up. 

This is a chance, for those who would otherwise continue to struggle, to have purpose by taking old cars that most overlook and think are junk, irrelevant, underperforming, etc., and making them matter to the general public as a custom work of art. If you look at Veterans positively, you may be thinking that doesn't sound super inspiring. So many of us don't know how to fit into the environment where we feel like we matter. We used to jump out of airplanes and lead Soldiers, and now it is hard to go to the store, get a job, or keep a job.

 

The cross-section of skillsets we have recruited varies widely, but the commonality is that they are all veterans. Here are some of the examples of the talent that we've found. Our first hire, who will be my Chief of Operations will be signing out on Terminal Leave this spring after serving 23 years. We have another candidate who was an Army-trained mechanic (diesel/Stryker/small engine), and she is H8 (vehicle recovery) certified. A third candidate just moved back to Alaska from Ohio used to paint F22s in the Air Force. A fourth candidate is another Army-trained machinist/welder who hasn't been able to work due to his post-traumatic stress issues since 2013. A fifth candidate is a retired Sergeant First Class who expressed a desire to bring a box here and work; notable because he hasn't wanted to get a job since he got out two years ago because of the environments he found himself in. These folks have a ridiculous amount of skill and talent but need a place and a purpose to use it. With funding, we will be able to provide both. With our 2.86 acres lot, we have a plan to grow and continue to do this with more veterans.

UPDATES

Update #2
May 8, 2022
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Happy Mothers Day to the Mom's out there.  We have been slowed down a little here as of late as my Father in-law has passed last month.  It has been a whirlwind of things happening between planning for his funeral and work in the shop.  We were able to sell our Mach 1 Mustang and knock out a couple of major items off the list. One of the biggest was getting Ranger's training paid for for my old roomate's service dog.  He has already been able to step into an anxiety attack and help!

Thank you everyone for the prayers and support we are still working on getting shirts and swag created and up for sale.

We are also adjusted the amount needed based on on-going needs and what we are building right now!  

Update #1
March 21, 2022
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So we are working out production on some swag.  Donor\'s will receive Meadow Lakes Rod Shop swag as a thank you.  We will be updating once the item costs are finalized.


Thank you you to everyone that has donated and shared this campaign!

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