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Models for Troops, it's more than just plastic.


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I just read a few more of the postings today regarding the demise of the Make and Take program and felt compelled to post this. We may not be gaining new, young model builders, but we are increasing our presence in other ways. Very positive and measurable ways.


First a little background. I am an 8-year Army mortarman, E5, son of a 30-year AF O6, son-in-law of an Iwo Jima Marine, mortarman, the brother-in-law of a Desert Storm Army mortarman (enough with the mortarman already), and most of all, a proud father of an Iraq War MP.


Back in 2012 I was inspired by a gentleman from Texas, Dick Montgomery, to start Models for Troops. Dick was helping wounded combat veterans at Brooke Army Medical Center by supplying models and supplies for recreational therapy. He was also the Director of the IPMS-USA Support the Troops initiative and shipping countless kits overseas. I live just north of Raleigh/Durham and held group builds at the Durham VA Hospital for 6 months before I sent my first shipment of kits to Afghanistan in August of that year. 74 whole pounds of kits...and not a drop of glue or paint. Doh! First lesson.


Dick gave me some pointers and by January of 2013 asked me to replace him as the IPMS-USA Director. Since then, the program has collected and shipped well over 3,000 lbs. of kits, building supplies and magazines to Kuwait, Afghanistan, and currently 9 rec therapy programs at VA Hospitals in 5 states. In NC - Durham and Ashville, WV - Beckley, VA - Hampton, WA - Spokane, NY - Bath, Canandaigua, and Buffalo/Batavia. Complete contact/mailing info can be found here on the Support the Troops portion of this site.


The fuel that powers this initiative are the IPMS members and clubs that donate kits and supplies from as far away as Hawaii. This would not exist without the overwhelming support of our members. I attend as many shows that time allows between Richmond VA and Columbia, SC. I set up a collection table and talk about the program with anyone who will listen. I have even met some recipients of our efforts at numerous contests. I will not attempt to mention some of our biggest supporters as I know I will forget someone while up on my soapbox and they have all done so much. I personally thank you all from the bottom of my heart.


OK, so back to the Make and Take. Was the point to be a recruiting tool or an awareness tool? Many of the VA's specifically ask for snap-tite kits for their patients as it is a tool for gauging improvement in some individuals. I have 4 years of e-mails of how we as an organization have helped people. Some we only helped by killing boredom, but others we have given a passion and a new hobby. If you ask me, we hit a home run with awareness.


I am here for questions and answers, please use me. If you can't get into your local VA Hospital, drop me a line and we can work through it together. Nothing is impossible.


Jon Emery

IPMS Eagle Squadron




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