In 1982, Douglas Franklin enlisted in the U.S. Army, completing Airborne school and becoming a mortarman. ​

In 2007 while serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Franklin’s building was hit with two large mortar shells that exploded less than 15 feet away from where he was preparing to bed down. The blasts left Franklin with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), leaving him legally blind with other motor and cognitive side effects. After over 2 years of hospital stays and countless hours of therapy, Franklin medically retired in 2011. ​

When Franklin hung up his boots and uniform after 25 years of service, his impairments left him unsure of what was next. He couldn’t maintain a job and didn’t have the confidence to do many things, especially the one thing that brought him joy no matter where the Army sent him—woodworking. ​

While listening to the TV, Franklin heard a story of another visually impaired person making a birdhouse in a woodshop. It was at that moment that he was inspired to do the same. Today, he has found ways to modify his hobby by working more slowly, using adaptive equipment, and always working with a sighted assistant. After hearing his story, HOPE granted him a Warrior’s Wish of $10,000 worth of supplies, including a planer, drill press, bandsaw, and more. ​

Today, adaptive woodworking is his therapeutic outlet. Not only are we inspired by Franklin’s work, but also is courage and resolve to push through and pursue his passions.