Inspired by the military legacy of his family, First Lieutenant Kyle Cox joined the Army in 2003. His service included being a part of the Arkansas Army National Guard, and he also deployed twice to Iraq until medically retiring in 2012 after being diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorder — the symptoms of which included recurring migraines and major depressive disorder.
After spending many years in service to our country, Kyle searched for a new passion throughout the transition from military to civilian life. He then rediscovered an important part of his past, one that would now greatly impact his future.
“I grew up working on cars and building things with my father, and I also dabbled in woodworking with my grandmother as a young boy,” Kyle said. “When I bought a home with a shop area last year, I knew I wanted to get back into using my hands to create but did not realize how much of an impact it would have on my mental health, motivation, and overall well-being.”
Kyle first encountered Semper Fi & America’s Fund after hearing about it through a friend, who knew a woodworker in The Fund’s Apprenticeship Program, which helps service members find meaningful trades, new careers, and small business opportunities by providing educational resources and apprenticeships.
“Semper Fi & America’s Fund has been incredibly helpful to me and my family by connecting me with entrepreneurship opportunities such as Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans and also helping me start my business by sending me to sell my products and get the word out about my products,” said Kyle.
This past year, along with 10 other entrepreneurs in the Apprenticeship Program, Kyle helped man The Fund’s booth at the WRCA World Championship Rodeo in Amarillo, TX — his first in-person sales event as a professional woodworker.
To support Kyle’s growing business, The Fund, in collaboration with The Home Depot Foundation, assisted with the build-out of his woodworking shop, offset the cost of tools needed to make more precise cuts, and purchased supplies to create additional shelving, cabinets, and storage. The Fund then provided grants for Kyle to improve the air quality of his shop, install AC/ heat, and make upgrades to his building’s insulation, electrical system, and flooring to ensure Kyle had everything he needed for success.
For Kyle, his biggest motivators to pursue a fulfilled, meaningful life are his wife, Molly, and their two children, Dylan and Calvin. Being an entrepreneur and contributing to the well-being of his family gave this Soldier a newfound purpose and the drive to explore his creativity, deepen his skills as a woodworker, and craft original products.
His hopes for his business include attending more sales events, making corporate gifts for businesses, and eventually renting a space to sell his handcrafted, one-of-a-kind products. And The Fund will be there every step of the way.
“Anytime I need anything, I know that I can reach out to The Fund, and they will do their best to help me or just listen to any issue that I’m having,” said Kyle.
Kyle’s incredible accomplishments as both a Soldier and a craftsman serve as a powerful example of perseverance, creativity, and the joy that comes from rediscovering passion. As he continues to move forward with these amazing achievements, The Fund family will always be inspired by his noble past, ambitious present, and hopeful future.