PHP Scholarship Recipient Interviews
The mission of Rob Cosman's Purple Heart Project (PHP) is to help physically and mentally Wounded Warriors, suffering the negative effects of combat, to find peace and joy through the therapy provided by traditional hand tool woodworking.
This page is a collection of short interviews and hand written reviews from Wounded Warriors who have attended one of Rob's Training the Hand Workshops on a Purple heart Scholarship.
One of the ways the Purple Heart Project accomplishes its mission is by annually providing 24 all expenses paid scholarships to selected physically or mentally Wounded Warriors unable to afford to attend Rob's Training the Hand Workshop (Click HERE to find out more about Rob's Training the Hand Workshops).
To apply for a Purple Heart Project scholarship click HERE
Rob conducts four, one-week, Training the Hand Woodworking courses each year; two in Fall and two in Spring. There are 12 student slots per course (48 per year)and 6 of these slots are reserved for scholarship Wounded Warriors (24 slots per year). Classes are held in Niagara Falls, Ontario (just outside Buffalo N.Y). Its all traditional hand tool skills, no machine.
We accept applications from Veterans for these course scholarships, validate their honorable discharge status, and make scholarship selections based on need.
For those selected, we cover all the expenses; airfare, hotel, meals, transportation and we send each Wounded Warrior home with about $2000 worth of tools.
DO NOT ADD TO CART!
For more information on Rob's Purple Heart Project and how to apply for a scholarship click HERE
"As a disabled veteran I had the opportunity to attend Rob Cosman’s Training the Hand workshop in November 2016. I have been woodworking for over ten years but my hand tool skills were very basic. Since taking this course I rarely turn on any of my big machinery and opt for the peacefulness and tranquility of the sound of my hand tools. Working wood with well-tuned and sharpened tools creates a zone for me where my stress and anxiety cease to exist. The sounds of the swoosh of a hand plane are replaced by the roar of machinery and allows me focus, and concentrate on the wood and the work. It allows me to be at peace in my shop. It frees me from all that is going on in the world and since the class, my woodworking has changed the way I tackle my day. This was more than a course, it taught me to slow down, pay attention, and focus on what it important. Building a piece of furniture is a process. The process is therapeutic for me. I recommend any and all veterans to take this course and take advantage of the training offered.
- Gregory Hairston, JAN 2017
"My name is Jeremy Breece. I was medically retired from the US Army. I did three deployments in my career as an Infantryman/Sniper. While deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 I stepped on an IED resulting in the loss of both legs above the knee and TBI(traumatic brain injury). After many surgeries and rehab I retired in Texas. I enjoy woodworking because it helps with anxiety and its something I can do that doesn't matter if I have legs or not. In the class I attended 19-25 November we had six civilians and six wounded vets, the class quickly formed a bond. Rob, Luther and Jake are all very friendly and knowledgeable. They had a workbench set up specifically for the wheelchair users and everywhere we went was handicapped accessible. All the vets were given a very nice set of tools to continue woodworking at home. This was such a wonderful experience, every morning I woke excited to learn more. It is amazing how much you can learn in one week. I will definitely be attending more of Rob's workshops. If you are a wounded vet interested in hand tool woodworking I highly recommend this class."
Staff Sergeant Jeremy Breece, NOV 2017
"I was fortunate enough to attend Robs class the week before Thanksgiving 2017. I say "fortunate enough" because I was one of the Wounded Warriors that was on full scholarship provided through The Purple Heart Project. On first look at the schedule, you think to yourself, "Man, there's going to be a lot of free time". However, with that thinking, you would be sorely disappointed. We were at the shop every morning about 8-8:30 and left no earlier than 12 hrs later. After the first 6 hrs of the first day, I realized quickly that 5 days would be nowhere near enough time for me! I could've easily spent 30 days with Rob, Jake and Luther. Not only is Rob (and Jake/Luther) a skilled crafstman, he has a servants heart and is committed to helping others. In my class, there were 4 other wounded warriors and I think I can speak for all 5 of us in saying that we were all hesitant to attend because of issues we might be facing, as well as not knowing what to expect. However, our other classmates were very accommodating, understanding and helpful. As for the class itself, it was absolutely fantastic. I remember my wife calling me on Monday night and asked what I made that day, to which my response was "a fantastically sharp plane iron" Yep, 12 hours of learning to sharpen. Like I said earlier, on first glance, you'd think "how am I going to spend 12 hrs learning to freehand sharpen?" and by the end of the week you think "how did I only spend 12 hrs learning how to sharpen?" I can't say enough about the class, methods, instruction, instructors and fellow classmates, but suffice to say the class was amazing and I wish it wouldn't have ended. Rob had us taking a pc of rough cut walnut (about 1 1/8" thick) and surfacing that 6 sides down to 3/4" in order to have a pc of stock to make a bench hook. Since most of my disabilities are not visibly physical, teh joy and peace found through hand planing that pc of walnut was like no other experience I had. Rob stopped by and asked why I had gone past 3/4 and I told him that it was too therapeutic to stop. He then said to just keep going and stop when I wanted to. I think I wound up at somewhere around 1/2". I urge you to check out this workshop as well as the support of the Purple Heart Project. You will not be disappointed. Friendships made and education learned was my takeaway."
Kevin Smira, Nov 2017
"Rob's course is amazing. His team (Rob, Luther and Jake) is a joy to be around and sooo easy to learn from. The hours are long but they really fly by during the course. For me, wood working is something that allows my mind to focus on the task at hand and it helps keep things from the past from creeping in. I can't say enough about Rob's generosity and true dedication to his cause and the Vets. I believe that all the class participants got an equal amount out of the experience and everyone is in a better place after the experience. I am extremely thankful and blessed to have been able to attend this course and benefit from it in more ways than I can explain. Rob, Jake and Luther, thank you."
Mark Witkowski, Nov 2017
"I got a ton out of this week long course. I had very little experience with hand tools, I'm talking I knew how to use a hammer and that's about it. After Rob's class I was able to confidently cut a precise dovetail that I'd match against some of the best craftsman out there. I used his tools throughout the course and that gave me the ability know that any imperfection was in my skills, not the tool. With that, when it came to an end I couldn't be any prouder of my final product."
Tyler Carroll, Nov 2017
"I was fortunate enough to be invited to this workshop as a veteran / guest. The week spent together with fellow wounded and the paying guests was amazing. We took time to get to know each other throughout the week during breaks and meals. Finding a common bond with like minded folks was a much needed retreat from the challenges I face daily. Rob liked to compare my initial work speeds to a Kawasaki revving, and telling me I needed to be more like an idling Harley. I relaxed for the first time in a long time, forgetting about what plagues my mind, and finding solace in making parchment paper out of wood. As I relaxed, I stopped thinking of how quickly I could remove material and began to enjoy watching as the grain structures changed ever so slowly. By the end of the week, I discovered that not only am I capable of producing admirable work, but also that I could quickly clear my mind while doing this. Whether a prospective supporter or a fellow disabled veteran, I urge you to become involved. You may also discover what's been missing in your life."
Brian Wilhelm, November 2017
" Hand as one of the lucky Veterans. This class went far beyond wI attended The 20-24 NOV class of 2017 for the Purple Heart Project -Training thehat I expected to learn from a woodworking workshop. Rob, Luther and Jake with their infinite patience will always take the time to make sure you've grasped the concepts and give you in depth one on one assistance when needed. Rob is a great instructor and frankly, a great human being. What he and his team do for Vets is not only commendable, he gives Vets the skills they need to help them cope with all their struggles. You cant buy that at Walmart. There is simply no substitution for ANY class taught by Rob Cosman and Team. 10 out of 10" Aaron Unger, November 2017