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Texas man makes free canes for veterans in need using discarded Christmas trees

This past holiday season he's received more than 1,500 donated trees and counting.
Credit: CBS
This past holiday season he's received more than 1,500 donated trees and counting.

(CBS) — The holiday season has come to an end and families across the U.S. are taking down their decorations and throwing out their trees. But one man in Texas is repurposing the discarded evergreens for a good cause.

Jamie Willis runs Canes for Veterans Central Texas, an organization that creates free walking sticks out of scrap wood for veterans in need. Willis was inspired to start the organization in 2016, when he found himself in need of a sturdy cane, he told CBS News.

Willis served in the Army for eight years, but was left disabled. He would end up needing to use a cane to get around, but didn't like the one he received from Veterans Affairs. He decided to reach out to the organization Free Canes for Veterans to ask for a suitable replacement.

Oscar Morris, who runs Free Canes for Veterans had to apologize to Willis because they were all out. However, Morris was able to offer Willis another gift: He taught Willis how to make a cane himself.  

After Willis crafted his first cane, Morris encouraged him to make another for someone else in need. This gave Willis an idea. He asked if he could start a Central Texas chapter of Free Canes for Veterans, and Morris said yes.

Willis decided to take the good deed one step further by using recycled Christmas trees to make the canes. 

MORE: Read the full story at CBS NEWS

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