There are times in a man's life when an event defines him, but if the event is a challenge to his very being and a threat to his freedom, then he must defeat or overcome that which stands in his way. One might think this only applies to our Armed Forces personnel. It can apply to anyone in life, in general as well. But when a person serves in the military and rejoins civilian life because of an injury during his service to our country, that event not only defines him in the public eye, but can also defy him being back in public life and from his true abilities, just by the nature of the disability situation. Today we try to believe there is nothing we cannot overcome through technology, perseverance and hard work, but sometimes we need a little understanding, patience and help from our friends.
Pictured left to right above: Fallon brothers before Tim's Afghanistan departure; Tim serving in Afghanistan (center); Giving candy to Afghan child (right)
[quote_box]1st LT Timothy Fallon USMC ( A Marine, Blinded in Battle, and a Woodworker's Quest to Get Back in the Shop)...John Morris, The Patriot Woodworker[/quote_box]
The phrase has been coined, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine". In this case, the Marine is 1st Lieutenant Timothy Fallon USMC and his new fight to get back into the woodshop. So stating, "Once a woodworker, Always a woodworker" applies here. You see, Timothy has been blinded through his service injury while fighting in Marjah, Afghanistan. He lost his site after an enemy improvised explosive device detonated on November 18, 2010. He has minimal light perception in his left eye and his right eye over time has improved to see shapes in the daylight. As Timothy states, "Imagine holding a straw up to your eyeball, and what you do see through the straw, is blurred at best." His doctors have indicated that this is most likely the most improvement he will ever have. To read up on Timothy, you can read his Biography or simply Google his name, 1st Lieutenant Timothy Fallon and you will get many hits, because he has been reported on as a hero. He is involved giving speeches to his fellow Marines and Wounded Warriors, and he is also visiting the halls of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda, Maryland were he gives tips to the architects for the newly remodeled medical center about ways to improve the walkways around the grounds for the sight challenged military personnel.
Timothy, however is not woodworking challenged. Growing up with a family of Marine woodworkers and carpenters, his knowledge is only circumvented by having proper machinery which he has relearned to use while in rehabilitation at the VA in Chicago. There, he was reintroduced to "blind woodworking". Sounds crazy but Timothy quickly learned from the instructors that doing complex projects with normal woodshop machines is only as dangerous as you make it.
When blind, each cut and segment of work just needs a little extra planning in order to be done correctly and safely. Furthermore, many after-market pieces of safety equipment will dramatically increase the safety and usability of standard machines for blind woodworkers. The one problem Timothy is having now is procuring all the equipment to get a reasonable shop in order. He cannot, unfortunately, utilize a communal shop anywhere because he needs to be absolutely aware of where each piece of equipment is, how they are all set up and how all the safety features work. Timothy is trying to get a shop going in his garage, which has plenty of space, but such an initial financial investment is overwhelming.
Below left, Timothy with his first bowl (segmented) he made at the Blind Woodworking Class during his rehab at the Hines Center for the Blind VA Hospital in Chicago, and (right) Lt. Fallon testing the newly designed walkways for the visually impaired at Walter Reed.
The Patriot Woodworker with John Morris is trying to come to Timothy's aid in support of his quest. Won't you join this quest adventure in helping LT Fallon for all he has done in serving our country? Here's how YOU can make a difference. Please click on this Operation link to help a fine Marine and a Great Guy!
That's Operation: Help A Marine Get Back In The Shop
I spoke with John Morris of The Patriot Woodworker and he told The Woodworking Adventures Blog that they are coming down to the final days of their project to help this Marine get back into a shop so he can continue what he loves to do, turning wood!
Please donate funds or tools or machinery to this worthy cause. The Patriot Woodworker will be taking donations for Lt. Fallon through the rest of January 2013. Your help is greatly imperative and appreciated. If you know of any vendor who would like to help, please notify them of this Operation. The vendor's efforts will be rewarded by free advertising within the Patriot woodworking community.
To Donate and for all the Details, you may also click on this logo,
Thank you for your support,
In the Spirit of Excellence, auf Wiedersehen...Frank!