COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) – There are an estimated 19 million veterans in the United States, and many of them are looking for a way to continue serving their country long after they’ve been in the military. A Colorado man found a way, with the help of spray paint and wood.
“I was going to become a paramedic. I was going to work in an ambulance. And then God had other plans, ”said Army veteran Zach Smith, owner of US Veteran Woodworks.
A few years ago, Smith discovered a skill in woodworking and art.
“I haven’t watched any YouTube videos. Mine was quite practical. It’s all trial and error, ”Smith said.
His workshop is his garage, where he has created more than 8,000 works of art, shipped all over the world.
But he also found a way to give back to those who served. The gift of his colorful art is now cherished by the families of the deceased. When a Colorado sheriff’s deputy was killed in the line of duty three years ago, Smith created a commemorative flag and sent it to the deputy’s loved ones. After that, he decided to start over whenever a serviceman or a first responder from his home country was killed in the line of duty. Unfortunately, work kept him busy.
“It’s tragic, you know. This is something you never want to happen. I mean, just a few years ago, I remember building three in a month, ”Smith said.
So far, he has honored over 20 families of the deceased, giving them a memento that honors their hero in a way that nothing else can.
“These people are all public servants, you know? An important part of being an American is serving your country, ”Smith said.
Samples of Smith’s tributes to the dead can be found on his Facebook page.
Smith’s service to the community doesn’t end with his artwork. He recently organized a group of more than 100 volunteers to help a Vietnamese-era veteran clean up his property after a forest fire burned down his house.
“Veterans are answering the call, you know? We have answered the call with multiple wars and attacks against our country. So something like that in the United States, especially an older man who served in the Vietnam era? All he had to do was say help, and that’s what we did, ”Smith said.