MASON plays over 200 shows a year around the country and takes the time to talk about WVFV's mission--to provide the "vessel" that can start a career or enhance a life for our returning service men and women--along with dedicating concerts to raise funds and often being on hand to present Vets with laptops, donated vehicles, machinery and working farms.
Says Dave Mason: "We are pretty much under the radar, as an organization. We're an all-volunteer group of people and there isn't any money spent on advertising, only a minimal amount of money goes to administrative stuff. All the money that we do get that passes through the charity actually goes where it's supposed to go. We are the only charity out there for Veterans that actually specifically helps them start their own businesses. Our motto is that 'We are not giving hand outs, we are giving a hand up.'"
Founded in 2008, Work Vessels for Veterans began when longtime friends DAVE MASON, New England lobsterman John Niekrash and IT Specialist Ted Knapp got together during a break in MASON's touring schedule and decided that they wanted to do something to help Vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan put their lives back on track in a manner that offered them a "hand up, not a hand out." What they envisioned was an all-volunteer organization where nearly all of the funds (now operating at 96%) would go to the Vets; not to cover exorbitant administration fees associated with most charities. With a single boat donation to a returning veteran embarking upon a commercial fishing career, the dream the three friends had, became a reality. In the past six years, their 501-C-3 charity dream--Work Vessels For Veterans--has assisted over 1,000 veterans in 47 states with the "vessels" to begin or expand their businesses while enriching their lives and those of other Vets. These "vessels" include laptops, trucks, cars, boats, equipment, tools and land. If you would like to donate to WVFV, visit: http://workvesselsforveterans.org/donations.aspx. Fueled by the passion and drive of some veteran requests, WVFV has also branched into the business development area, providing start-up materials and funds to qualified veteran-lead companies working to employ other veterans.
MASON--renowned for such Traffic hits as "Feelin' Alright" (covered by Joe Cocker) and "Hole In My Shoe" plus his solo signature tracks "We Just Disagree" and "Only You Know and I Know"--released his latest album Future's Past on May 13, 2014. Future's Past--available on DaveMasonMusic.com--features new versions of his classic songs plus new material that MASON has written and performed on tour over the last few years. MASON's acclaimed solo career continues to flourish as he tours the U.S. with his new project billed as "DAVE MASON'S TRAFFIC JAM." DAVE is earning accolades on the road for the TRAFFIC JAM tour which kicked off January 3, 2014 in Atlantic City, NJ and will continue through 2015. MASON has been touring and recording regularly since he co-founded Traffic in 1966, after which he went on to a successful and acclaimed solo career as well as recording and/or touring with artists including Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Delaney & Bonnie, Graham Nash, Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Fleetwood Mac and more. For the most updated list of tour dates and ticket info, please visit: davemasonmusic.com/tour.
Here are quotes from Veterans that have received their "vessel" from Work Vessels For Veterans:
"I'm unable to put into words my gratefulness to Work Vessels For Vets for the donated tractor. My combat injuries have hindered my capabilities... This asset is a vital instrument to our success. With it, I will be able to feed my family, give back to my community, and begin re-serving our great nation. This tractor will 'pay it forward' for years to come. Thank you so very much."
--Matthew Burke from Newberry, FL, a Master Sergeant of the U.S Air Force, who was seriously injured in combat with enemy forces in Afghanistan in September, 2011
"Work Vessels For Vets made a dream become reality for five disabled veterans now entering the world of Bee Keeping."
--James McCormick, a highly decorated Army Veteran from West Virginia
"I would like to personally thank WVFV for your selfless donation...It's people like you and other true patriots who ensure our veterans will not be forgotten"
--Eric Grandson from West Virginia, who served six tours with the U.S. Army
"After the war, my wife, three children, and myself have really been struggling to get by. P.T.S.D. has taken its toll on all of us. I found WVFV and submitted an application explaining a little about myself, my military service, and my situation, and they replied. Now when I say they replied, they donated my family a car! A really nice car too. I'm crying right now. They donated a car to my family and thanked me for my service. They genuinely are a true passionate group of people who really helped me in a time of need. This program has made me see that there are people out there who really care about veterans…I've just felt so alone in the world since I came back from the war and have had such difficulties but you guys really made me feel special, and I haven't felt that way in a long time…Four years later, I can finally say that things are looking better…It has been a significant change for all of us. I have enrolled in college, I have a steady job and my children are in a great school system. Thank you so much guys and everyone at Work Vessels For Veterans this is truly a miracle."
--Mario Cruz, Operation Iraqi Freedom combat veteran