Disabled Army Veteran Helps Others Through Woodworking | Virginie News

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By JAMES BARON, The Free Lance Star

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) – An Army colonel who has found relief from post-traumatic stress disorder through an old carpentry trade is hoping the same thing that has helped him might help others.

Roger Lintz says he finally got rid of PTSD by working with his hands as a carpenter.

“For me, there is something peaceful about using a chisel on a piece of wood,” said Lintz, who was medically discharged from the military in 2014 after 31 years of service. “It takes time, patience, and when you’re done you have something really beautiful that will outlive you and many generations after you. “

After 2.5 years of timber framing alone, Lintz recently opened Old School Timber Framing of Virginia at his Stafford County home, where he holds free workshops on Saturdays to teach others the trade. It has already attracted disabled veterans, first responders, law enforcement and others looking for something new.

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Retired Army Sgt. Steve Hotz, president of Black Horse Forge of Stafford at 29 Utah Place, said disabled veterans like Lintz offer veterans in the area another “old school” option where they can find peace and longevity. friendship with others in similar situations.

“If we have a million outlets for these guys to get help, then that’s great,” said Hotz, who has taught blacksmithing to 11,287 veterans and first responders at his forge over the course. the last three years.

“When a guy gets involved and he’s in a dark place and he’s building something, there’s something he’s proud of, that gives him purpose again,” Hotz said.

Lintz said he “suffered silently” from PTSD for many years after he broke his back after jumping from a helicopter in Iraq in 2010. After that, he underwent several surgeries which ultimately had him leads to years of bedridden depression until he finally discovers Simple Hand. tools like his ticket to freedom.

“Once I started doing it, I loved it,” Lintz said. “It’s been my passion ever since, and it really helped me.”

After the jump incident 11 years ago, he said doctors crushed his spinal cord roots during the operation and then suffered from acute respiratory failure and cardiac arrest full.

“I shouldn’t be here, but they managed to revive me,” Lintz said. “I am a walking miracle.”

Seven surgeries and several spinal fusions later, the Purple Heart recipient still has a spinal cord stimulator and intrathecal morphine pump implanted in his body to manage the pain, but on Monday Lintz was up early in the morning, mixing and pouring. concrete at his house in South Stafford.

“Every day is a struggle, but every day is a victory,” said Lintz.

Lintz lives at home with his wife and 12-year-old service dog, now retired. Her children are grown up and live out of state. Three Saturdays ago he opened his little mill to the public to teach wood framing with the help of seasoned carpenters Emil Ulfers of Fredericksburg and Keawe O’Connor of Prince William County.

“I do it for free, there is no charge,” Lintz said. “Anyone who wants to learn how to do timber framing is welcome. “

Bobby, a Stafford resident and federal agent who prefers his full name not to be released due to the nature of his work, recently attended a lumber framing workshop and said the students had not lost time to embark on building sawhorses, which surprised him. to be seen were used at the mill, supporting a single 2,000 pound tree.

“You could see right away how solid they were,” Bobby said. “It gave me lots of ideas.”

Bobby found Lintz’s outdoor workshop informative and refreshing, and said the knowledge he hopes to gain by learning the trade will bring lifelong gratification in the next home he builds.

“Especially with that wood frame, how pretty it looks afterwards,” Bobby said. “I think that would be very therapeutic for sure.”

Naval veteran Mikkayla Bias from Stafford also has a desire to build her own house someday, and she arrived at the factory last month with a passion for building objects out of wood. Now preparing to attend her third workshop next weekend, she said she was happy to have found Lintz via social media.

“It can teach the person self-esteem, basically, and you also learn patience and you learn that you can get things done,” Bias said.

Lintz said the students at the workshop use wood from donated trees that Lintz collects and transports directly to his mill. During the workshop, Lintz not only teaches the students details about the types of wood, but he also points out how it is possible, through patience and care, to create something beautiful out of something. which is originally rough around the edges.

Laura Emberson, a Navy veteran and public servant who lives in Fredericksburg, said she couldn’t believe it when she came across Lintz’s offer for a free workshop. She emailed Lintz who responded with a message explaining who he was and why he was trying to help others through the profession that has helped him regain his life.

“It has a great way to connect the entire tree life cycle and create something permanent for those less fortunate or disabled,” Emberson said. “It’s not very common to give this experience away for free and have no expectations of you. “

Lintz said he was advertising his free Saturday workshops on the Old School Timber Framings social media page and said that even though a preferred class size is around eight, he will never turn down. anyone who wants to learn the trade. Lintz divides the students into teams who eventually learn to create mortise and tenon joints that are locked together with wooden dowels.

“I’m teaching them how to lay out a beam with a centerline technique,” ​​Lintz said. “We create a grid all around the wood so that we can be extremely precise. “

Lintz is committed to helping veterans and first responders by supplying lumber to a sawmill that was once affiliated with Black Horse Forge, owned by Stafford veterans.

“I wanted to do something with (the trees) and involve veterans with PTSD – group therapy, woodworking would be great,” Lintz said. “But that never happened.”

Many regulars at Black Horse Forge now look to Lintz to learn how to craft custom handles for the axes, blades, and tools they craft at the Forge.

“His blacksmithing work and my wood frame work go very well together,” Lintz said.

As his pool of framing students continues to grow, Lintz said he would eventually like to form a dedicated team to build a hangar for a veteran or first responder who needs additional structure on their property. Lintz said that over time, the same team of volunteers will help other veterans in the area with custom building projects.

“I hope to be there long enough to support these types of projects,” Bias said.

Lintz said he also hopes to partner with Black Horse Forge to build a 36-foot-long wooden footbridge over the Wilderness Battlefield in Spotsylvania County. The project, already approved by the National Park Service, will allow Hotz and members of his forge to supply antique nails, steel plates and hardware for the structure, while Lintz will take care of the lumber work for the structure. the four-foot-wide bridge. Lintz said all work will be done at no cost and sees the upcoming project as yet another opportunity to provide access to a historic Civil War site.

“The project means more than I could really express,” said Lintz. “I help generations of family members whose loved ones fought and died there to pay homage to this sacred land.”

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