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Woodworking shop in NKY focused on veteran's health and wellness

Patriots Landing cross
Posted at 5:39 PM, Feb 06, 2023

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. — The sounds of table saws, nail guns and sandpaper will be the new norm just past the gates of Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North in Williamstown. Patriots Landing is a years-long dream for Joe Montgomery, who saw woodworking as a way for veterans to work through life’s issues while building more than comradery.

"My dad and my uncles (are) the reason I started this and it’s kind of surreal brother, kind of surreal," Montgomery said during a recent visit.

While his father and uncles served in the military, Joe never did. But that didn’t stop him from wanting to serve those who did. Before he built the final home of Patriot’s Landing, he hosted veterans in several places from the backroom of a Halloween Express in Florence to his own workshop at this home.

Now the final touches are being put on the home base for Patriots Landing, a one-of-a-kind faith-based veterans’ workshop in Grant County.

"With this facility, I am getting more volunteers, I'm being contacted constantly by veterans that want to get involved," Montgomery said. "I'm being contacted by civilians that say, 'I’m not a veteran can I come down and paint? Can I clean? Can I do this or that?' We're like, 'Yes, you can.'"

Retired Marine Corps Colonel Patrick Kanewske, director of the advisory committee for Patriot’s Landing, said the workshop is a safe place for veterans.

"Veterans, a lot of them have a story about why they are the way they are," Kanewske said. "They’re able to come in here and be free to talk about it. We joke around about things, and it heals them in a sense that they’re able to release what they had stored inside."

The other component is the partnership with Disabled American Veterans, or DAV, headquartered in Erlanger.

"To talk about helping a veteran from A to Z, our relationship with the DAV is critical because if we have a veteran who is questioning its benefits or is not sure to do this or that we can send them up there," Montgomery said.

Inside the workshop, veterans will make several standard products that range from burial flag cases they sell to Arlington National Cemetery, to flag-inspired crosses, wooden American flags with ammunition brass as the stars and more.

Then there’s the custom woodworking, which can range from raw edge benches to custom tables that anyone can order.

"It brings a sense of peace to me personally — just something about working on wood, any type of woodcraft,” said Coast Guard veteran Taylor Thibodeau. “I mean Jesus was the ultimate carpenter, so if I can be somewhat like that work with my hands and try to build whatever I can.

The front of the facility is a showroom where many of the items are available for purchase. Montgomery said they’ve already had tour groups tied to the Ark Encounter down the road and they expect many more in the future. Their Patriot Crosses are already sold at the Ark’s gift shop.

Montgomery said he hopes as word gets out, their mission will continue to grow and impact veterans and non-veterans in the community.

"We’re working on getting the Congressional Medal of Honor character development program, which is a scholastic program," Montgomery said. "We want to do a scholastic program for the local school kids but we want to integrate that with some of the veterans we’re working with."

Montgomery said he’s seen veterans transform working on a variety of projects. It's the transformation behind the faith-based mission of Patriot’s Landing.

"You know we call them Products with a Purpose and it is," he said.

Patriot’s Landing will have a ribbon cutting to officially open on Feb. 11 at 1 p.m. To find out more about their mission, visit their website.

If you have a veteran story to tell in your community, email homefront@wcpo.com. You also can join the Homefront Facebook group, follow Craig McKee on Facebook and find more Homefront stories here.