Knowing the importance of keeping healthy and staying in a positive state during difficult times as a result of work-related stress, I have recently purchased 45 acres to help those that protect us, a place to connect with nature, hike, swim, bike ride, fish, photograph and build wood projects from trees harvested on the property.
Since 2003, I have enjoyed teaching the joy of woodworking to my peers in need in my own shop in a positive environment. Now that I am retired, I can now share my passion to help our Emergency Service Workers and Military members in a bigger way on my 45-acre wood lot.
In order to help as many EMS workers as possible I am now devoting my time to create a non-profit charity called Rough Cuts Canada. My goal is to help not only the workers, but also their spouses and children by connecting with nature in a very private setting.
Following my journey through my PTSD healing way back in 1995, I began helping others by volunteering with our peer support team, which led to becoming a Certified Trauma Responder (CTR)
My passion to help others gave me the opportunity to assist New York City Police Officers crisis debriefing immediately following the 9-1-1 attacks on the World Trade Centers.
The process to register my charity is now underway and funding is now needed for me to obtain some equipment for the property.
My wife has been my biggest supporter and having spent the last 15 years saving for my dream, I’m excited beyond words to have purchased the property with no debts owing.
My my goal is to create woodworking shops for those attending by harvesting their own tree, cutting the material, creating their own project and placing it in their home as a symbol of creation with their own hands.
During my dark time, I leaned on my woodworking skills as an outlet to be creative and constructive. Stress causes a great deal of people, regardless of their occupation to deal with their issues in a destructive way through, alcohol and drug abuse as their way to cope.
Over the years, I have had many attend my small workshop in our home and the joy of seeing those return to work is what this is all about.
One particular worker came to me asking to attend my shop to help him find a happy place. His story was he had been asked to leave the house due to his anger issues and alcohol abuse. Not having any family in the area, he began living in his car. His first visit to my shop was a day spent with him just being around power equipment as he feared them. As weeks went by, his attitude changed from anger to excitemt as he began seeing his small cabinet take shape. His fear of power tools disappeared and his desire to create was evident as he too, loved to work with wood. As this police officer completed his first cabinet, he soon enrolled in a local college for cabinet making. I’m typing these with tears of happiness as this once broken man is now one of the finest cabinet makers who is now running his own business when not policing. He has been sober for 12+ years and living a very active and healthy life with his wife and children.
I have some serious equipment to get things going on the property for this spring that will help clear walking and riding trails all through 45 acres. Clearing an area in the back of the property to construct a small cabin for many to enjoy is my goal to have complete by mid summer 2018.
Equipment needed this spring are a small tractor, chainsaws, safety equipment (gloves, eye glasses, helmets)
All funds received will go directly to the charity to help those who serve and protect us.
As for my involvement? It will be I who meets and greets all those attending the property and sharing with them the joy of being creative, rather than destructive with their minds and hands.
Thank you for your support.
Sergeant (retired) Gary Phillips
Malagash, Nova Scotia
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