Desert Storm veteran uses woodworking to cope with PTSD, uses proceeds to support other Texoma vets

SULPHUR, Okla. (KXII) - Raymond Jackson lives in Sulphur now, but he served in the Army as a combat infantryman in Operation Desert Storm.

"It was great while I was in," Jackson said. "(It was) difficult adjusting after, just, learning to cope with it."

He battled PTSD and depression for many years from losing friends and fellow soldiers in Desert Storm, as well as the loss of his own son in 2011.

He was admitted to a hospital in June 2018 for eight weeks.

While he was there, a recreation therapist introduced him to pen turning.

“She got me on the machine," Jackson said. "I just listened to the machine and listened to the sound of the tools working the wood. From there to having it at home, I mean, it worked and I wanted to keep doing it.”

Jackson said he has been making pens on his own machine since December.

Jackson said no two pens he makes are identical, being inspired by whatever comes to mind.

He uses an array of exotic woods, including certified olive wood from Bethlehem, as well as colorful acrylics.

Jackson said part of the money he gets from selling his pens or aroma therapy pendants goes toward Beyond Brotherhood, an organization that provides community and any help to veterans in the southern Oklahoma region.

Brandon Meador is a veteran and the president of Beyond Brotherhood.

"Just for him to be able to do this and donate the proceeds to us and another cause is going above and beyond," Meador said. "It's just a very selfless act."

Beyond Brotherhood uses any funds to improve the live of veterans.

Meador said, most recently, the organization helped a 25-year-old veteran living on the streets in Oklahoma City find a place to live and a job in Davis.

Proceeds from Jackson's pens will continue work like that.

"And for another veteran to use what helps him to give back to a group of veterans to help other veterans, it just ties in that whole circle and the fact that we have each other's' backs," Meador said.

Jackson said the other part of his proceeds go toward a program though Crossway Church in Sulphur, who helped his family with home repairs when he was not able to work due to his depression.

"And so I want to give back so they can help others as well."

Anyone interested can see more photos of Jackson's pens or make an order at "Hand crafted pens and more" Facebook page.

Beyond Brotherhood is hosting a chili supper and silent auction Fri. March 1 at Davis High School from 6 to 8 p.m with all proceeds going to local veterans.

Beyond Brotherhood meets the second Monday of every month at Bad Boy Motorsports at 7 p.m. in Davis.

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