DELAND, Fla. (March 8, 2023) – Despite many medical setbacks, U.S. Army veteran Jeff Cambre continues to chase his passion of metal working and creating automotive restoration parts since his injuries while serving. In fact, he is a designer and builder of parts used in restoration of classic cars.
Living as a paraplegic and lingering effects of the injury he received in 2017, forced a third back surgery in 2017 and an unwelcome prognosis from his doctor afterward.
“After my third back surgery my doctor told me to sell my metal shop and buy a recliner, because that was going to be my life,” said Cambre, a U.S. Army veteran who served 17-years. “Those words were of complete devastation as I was a designer, builder and owner of a functioning metal fabrication shop.”
With the aid of Hope For The Warriors and its Warrior’s Wish program, Cambre overcame that prognosis. The metal fabrication shop he had constructed with his own funds was outfitted with tools presented to him by the national nonprofit. The more than $10,000 worth of automotive restoration tools purchased through Trick-Tools and Mittler Brothers, allowed Cambre to continue producing restoration parts for classic cars in his new shop.
“Mentally, this opportunity means everything and allows me to follow a passion of mine and start living a purpose-driven life again full of joy and happiness,” said Cambre. “Having this opportunity will also get me out of the house and interacting with others who share the same passions and interests that I do.”
Cambre said the new tools would help him give back to the metal work community and also help fellow veterans with their projects by videoing his techniques and providing demonstrations to others. He also plans to create a group that meets over Zoom to discuss techniques, answer questions and offer help.
“We are so pleased that not only is Jeff able to pursue his passion, but he plans to support other veterans with their projects,” said Robin Kelleher, co-founder and CEO of Hope For The Warriors. “That ‘pay-it-forward’ attitude is symbolic of everything HOPE does. We are excited to hear about some of Jeff’s projects going forward.”
Cambre is also a past client of Drive For Hope, a comprehensive driving program designed to help service members and veterans regain the independence that was lost as a result of a catastrophic injury. Currently, Cambre is enrolled at Daytona State Community College in a welding program to continue to learn ways to hone his craft.
“I’ve known how to weld for several years but wanted to earn different certifications. It gives me a purpose and not thinking about being in wheelchair and reason to get out of the bed every day. My goal is to be able to weld at an aerospace level.” Since 2006, Hope For The Warriors has provided almost 2.5 million in grants, assisting with 251 wishes.
For more information on Hope For The Warriors and Warrior’s Wish program, visit hopeforthewarriors.org, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
About Hope For The Warriors: Founded in 2006, Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope for post-9/11 veterans, service members and military families. Since its inception, Hope For The Warriors has served over 40,000 through a variety of support programs focused on health and wellness, sports and recreation and transition. One of the nonprofit’s first programs, Military Spouse and Caregiver Scholarships, has awarded 212 scholarships to caregivers and families of the fallen. For more information, visit hopeforthewarriors.org, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.