"Never underestimate the power of volunteers. Remember that Noah’s Ark was built by volunteers and the Titanic was built by professionals."
Never underestimate the power of volunteers. Remember that Noah’s Ark
was built by volunteers and the Titanic was built by professionals.
Bruce Wood likes to make dust, because where there's dust, there is construction - and when something is being built, Bruce likes to lend a hand. He grew up in Manassas, Virginia the son of a builder, and though he has moved away from the area at times, he always returned home.
Bruce worked 37 years for the Department of the Interior, 30 of those years working at the United States Geological Survey (USGS), including 7 years in the Middle East. One of his responsibilities was as liaison with the military deployed there, including during the Gulf War and Desert Storm.
Now retired, Bruce spends time volunteering. It was on two church mission trips to help build a facility for the Wounded Warrior project in Colorado that he interacted with military veterans on a personal level. It was this experience that inspired him to get further involved in helping veterans.
“I was not in the military, but growing up during the Vietnam era, I saw how those in the military were treated,” Bruce said. “During the Wounded Warrior building project, it really hit me what servicemen and women have been through, and helping with the construction was a way to give back.”
Back in Manassas, he saw an advertisement in the local paper seeking a driver to help start a program to transport veterans to doctors’ appointments. He made a call and became the first driver for the Veterans Enhanced Transportation Service (V.E.T.S). He now drives veterans and widows of veterans to their doctor appointments. He has also found a way to keep building. Click here to watch and learn more about the V.E.T.S program.
“One of the people I drive is in a wheelchair, so it's to get through doorways. I built a ramp for him at his home to make it easier,” said Bruce. “Some of these veterans served in the Vietnam or Korean War, and one in WWII. When you first meet them, you don’t realize all they've accomplished in their lives. It is a worthwhile experience to learn from their experiences first hand rather than from the press, or a war movie or TV show.”
Bruce also helps transport food to a local food bank through the SERVE program once a week, helps neighbors with home improvement projects, and recently helped transform a 10,000 square foot residential home into a visitation and rehab facility for another veteran group, Serve Our Willing Warriors.
In his spare time, Bruce serves as the Vice Chairman of the City’s Planning Commission, which is responsible for the City’s Comprehensive Plan, updating zoning ordinances, and reviewing rezoning and special use permit applications.
Bruce and his wife Carol have four grown children and two grandchildren who they enjoy spending time with. Carol will join him on the cruise!