Header for Ability Mission

Army Veteran Seeks Help For At Risk Young Adults Auto Restoration School

by Lennie
(Columbia, SC, USA)

I am a 60-year-old male disabled veteran who spent 11 years in the U.S. Army.

I did two tours in Vietnam as an infantryman and a helicopter door gunner, air traffic controller and an instructor for air traffic control.

Upon leaving the military I worked for the Federal Aviation Administration as a air traffic controller with a combined federal service of 26 years.

I have been married for 38 years and have three children who were all adopted as infants. I now have two grandchildren.

I am a 100% left leg amputee. I also lost the use of my right leg due to arthritis and poor circulation.

I have been confined to a wheelchair since 2009. The VA is my only source of income. I am a very active disable person who has many different sources of activities.

I am dependent upon the VA and on my wife, who is also disabled. She receives social security benefits.

While my medications come from the VA, my wife's medications are paid for out of pocket.

We currently rent our home, which is not made for a wheelchair-bound person like me. The hallways and doors are too narrow to easily navigate and the bathrooms are not accessible to me at all.

I have not been able to find a job that I'm qualified for and that hires wheelchair-bound persons.

I tried several Internet work-at-home jobs only to find them to be consumer rip-off scams.

I have also lost money in so-called government grant giveaways. I am not eligible for social security disability because I did not have the required work quarters.

I am looking for a business startup grant.

With a view to earning a second income while I was with the federal government I attended a trade school where I studied Paint and Body Repair work.

Upon completion I went to work for various body shops in my spare time. I eventually gained enough experience to venture out and into my own business. I specialized in classic and muscle car restoration.

Twenty-five years later and having owned several classics of my own, I've decided to go back into business. Luckily I can use what I already have readily available and that is a vast knowledge of restoring cars and how to instruct from a technical standpoint.

But I want to do more than just teach and manage a restoration facility. I want to give back something to the community and be worthy of any grants or other help that I might receive.

My idea is to provide work for at-risk young adults. I've already made the initial contact at the department of juvenile justice and have from five to ten candidates to consider. They have recently been released from the system and at present are unemployed with no job skills.

I would have those individuals psychologically tested to insure that I receive only those with the characteristics needed to succeed. They could not be trouble makers or habitual criminals.

I would select those that are mature enough and that have a desire to learn and want a second chance in life.

These are identifiable traits. I am positive I can teach them a trade at no cost to them and or the state. They'd have jobs in a craft that will remain needed as long as people drive cars and have accidents.

At present, the purchase and sale of classic cars is the second best investment in the U.S. second only to real estate. Sales are at an all-time high, even in a down turn economy.

My sales projections are based on several factors. To start with, this facility will be a registered, certified restoration facility with an active website. All aspects of off-frame restoration will be well documented. Advertising will be via the Internet, classified ads, car shows and local and national auctions.

A projected profit of 150-250 percent is a realistic goal. In order to achieve this a state of the art facility is needed with all of the latest high tech equipment and tools.

I have contacted several people in the auto service industry with many years experience and have expressed my need for their help in training these young adults.

Auto body repair, engine rebuild, auto upholstery and shop management/ownership will be the curriculum that each trainee will be required to show a working knowledge of through a hands on applications.

Classroom training videos, shop work assignment, instructor feedback as well as day-to-day management will be the sole responsibility of myself, along with the assistant manager.

The cost to build a 100' x 75' building using concrete blocks with metal roofing is estimated at $45,000. The cost to equip this facility is estimated at $51,000. The cost to purchase four to five project cars is $15,000.

I will very much appreciate any kind of assistance that will help me make this project a reality.

Comments for Army Veteran Seeks Help For At Risk Young Adults Auto Restoration School

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jun 09, 2012
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Rebuilding hope along with autos and esteem!
by: Ken

Hi Lennie,

Compile a list of all the companies and suppliers of your business. Get sponsors. Tell them the story. Ams Oil, MOBIL, EXXON, MOPAR, FORD, CHEV, everyone. To them it's a write off. Getting their contact list will be easy. Good luck, a real worthwhile venture!

Bless you,
Ken

Click here to add your own comments

Return to US South Carolina.