Bootstraps boosts veteran's support group in region
A LOVE for the town of Gatton has made the decision easy for former solider to locate the headquarters for his veteran's charity Bootstraps here.
The veteran's charity is opening its headquarters in Gatton next month in the former Department of Resources and Mines building on Golf Links Drive.
The charity started as a result of looking for something for veterans to do and away to connect back in 2017, by former full-time Army soldier turned reservist Sam Kavanagh.
"I decided to do something instead of whinging about it,' Mr Kavanagh said.
The function of Bootstraps is to teach leatherwork to veterans and the community by holding classes at the building. This will also allow veterans to network with those of a similar background.
"The idea is that veterans can come in, learn a skill and connect. Drop in for a coffee and chat which will help in their fight with PTSD and other mental illnesses,” Mr Kavanagh said.
The decision to make Gatton as the headquarters was easy for Mr Kavanagh because he saw the town as the hub for the Lockyer Valley. A number of local businesses in the region have already assisted the organisation by donating furniture, carpets, security screens and labour.
Mr Kavanagh said there was still more to before and after the opening.
"We need landscaping outside to build a memorial to past conflicts, a BBQ area with seats and play area for kids,” he said.
The tools and supply of leather and kits have been made possible with the successful application of grants. Each kit has all the pieces needed to create a wallet or belt.
"There will be beginner classes where I will teach the creation of wallets and belts. From there if the vets want to become more advance, we can go up to making whips and saddles where I will have experts come in to teach,” Mr Kavanagh said.
Mr Kavanagh said he was hoping in the future to provide other activities for the veterans to do so they could connect and network, such as horse riding, hiking and retreats.
Mr Kavanagh explained he learnt leatherwork from his father ad it was a skill he was willing to teach others and develop their creative side.
The official opening is on the Wednesday 17 July, from 11am to 2pm.