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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Veterans Watchmaker Initiative Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Vocational & Technical Schools

Mission: The focus of the veterans watchmaker initiative is to provide united states armed forces veterans, especially disabled veterans, with the skill set of watch repair and a career path in a high-paying vocation that is in high demand due to its shortage of workers.

Programs: The charity provides free basic and advance training courses in the field of watch-making to veterans, a skill in high demand due to the shortage of qualified job applicants as cited in trade publications. Upon completion of which the individual will be eligible for employment in the field of watchmaking.

Community Stories

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

I started as a volunteer before the first class began. From the beginning Sam told me "If you want to be a watchmaker I'll teach you to be a watchmaker. " I saw the inaugural class begin and complete and now I'm a grateful member of the second class.

This is a wonderful charity satisfying the real needs of real veterans. I look forward to completing the program so I can give back to it. Veterans Watchmaker Initiative Inc. is a modern American miracle. I'm proud to have been a part of it and hopefully contribute in a more meaningful way in the coming years. Sam Cannan's vision is real. He's proven that it works and I only hope it can keep growing to help even more veterans from across the country.

Brenda Reed W.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a much needed service that being lost. Watch makers were challenged by RR to make an accurate watch, horologists did, after WW2, men needed jobs, again, many veterans learned the trade. My friend was one, he told me watches gave him a living, kept him and his family fed, clothed and a little spending money.
He worked on watches well into his 80’s.
I repair clocks, working in a shop with a watch repairman in Georgia. We have customers across the states bringing or mailing the watches and clocks to us. They cannot find someone to keep their timepieces working. They are so grateful the service we do. ‘ It means the world to me’ is an ofter phrase we hear often, even tears, hugs. Heard many stories about the timepieces, part of the family’s lives, that makes that repaired item so dear to them.
Sir, I truly believe these men will make someone’s memory of their timepieces a reality someday too.
Keep up the great work, America needs you.

Marc C.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve witnessed the incredible work of these professionals first hand. You will not find a more dedicated group running a non-profit than the folks at VWI. The passion with which they create opportunities for our nation’s veterans is inspiring. Their drive to serve others represents the best of our society. Transparency, selflessness, and the pursuit of excellence - pretty much says it all.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Veterans Watchmaker Initiative is a non-profit that actually makes a difference in people's lives. I am a veteran and a student in the second of the classes VWI has offered to disabled veterans for no fee whatsoever. I have in the short amount of time (presently interrupted by the COVID-19 lockdown) learned more about myself than I can fathom. What is important is that I have learned more about the watchmaking industry than I thought possible. I look forward to learning more and taking up this fascinating career to earn a living. This school, this non-profit, takes no money from the veteran/student and provides an unparalleled education that seems to exceed the industry standard by teaching methods practiced by "old-schoolers". These are not my thoughts but those of competent professionals who have visited the school and let other know what is happening in Odessa, Delaware. As a disabled veteran, I have been offered the chance to return to work, and find again, a purpose to live along with the dignity of work in an industry that is once again growing following the so-called quartz watch revolution. It must be understood that the industry needs watchmakers as an aging population of watchmakers is literally dying off. Had it not been for the COVID-19 issue, the current class would be further along on the way to being the next wave of watchmakers to stroll confidently into the public sector earning a living with the rather expensive education we are receiving for no cost to ourselves. And it must be stated, this education were it to be provided in the public sector, would result in student loan payments that need to be paid back by the students. VWI charges nothing for the education, and trains its students to be not mere technicians but industry craftspeople capable of demanding and receiving the income the skills command. VWI is nothing short of a miracle that is quietly transforming disabled veterans into competent journeymen who are capable of becoming masters in short order. Upon graduation, I feel my class will be leaders in the field, matching or exceeding any other trained students from American of European schools. Perhaps it is not the place of a student to submit a rating as it might seem appropriate or appear to be biased out of gratitude, but I do feel confidence in my future knowing I will be able to earn a living as a fully qualified and competent craftsman who earnestly knows he will be qualified for the demanding skills this industry requires. This confidence is not unwarranted as I have already begun the process of restoring my self-purpose and feel the dignity a man should feel, rather then allowing myself to continue wallowing away thinking my life is over and I have no purpose in life. Please support this charity and allow it to continue it's mission to train others.

Donor

Rating: 5

Great organization headed by intelligent forward looking leaders who are doing work in the best interest for others. The jobs are important but the people even more - Thanks for making a difference!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This school has given me the opportunity to pursue a true love for Horology. As a disabled vet, I couldn't be more honored to a part of this amazing school. Thank you VWI!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a professional in the watch and jewelry space for over 15 years this is the first organization that I feel passionate about supporting.. Our industry is in desperate need of quality trained and accredited watch makers. This organization has the ability to provide a post service career path for our true American heroes while at the same time helping our industry continue to move forward into the future with the ability to repair timepieces. I am truly honored to help this organization in any way possible. What an amazing win win for both our veterans and the watch industry at large.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was lucky enough to be in the inaugural class and volunteer there as much as possible. It's a great program that teaches a valuable set if skills and offers vets a feeling of continued brotherhood.

2 Lois G.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

VWI is such a success story, helmed by a man who has realized a vision of helping returning vets achieve great success in learning the trade of watch repair. His dedication to teaching his students, meticulous training and some very generous donors have combined to create a well-run organization. His dedication to VWI is complemented by community volunteers and tradespeople who lend their expertise, ingenious fixes to construction problems, and almost inexhaustible energy to spread the word about his watchmaking school. I volunteer at a local thrift store and 3 years ago contacted Sam to donate nonworking watches to his program. He invited me to tour the facility- I was so impressed by what had already been accomplished in a short period. Every time I return to visit more classrooms have been added, more equipment has been donated, and the students are totally involved in learning their trade.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

MY HUSBAND WAS A HANDICAPPED VETERAN FROM THE KOREAN WAR, HE TOOK A WATCHMAKING COURSE AND LOVED FIXING WATCHES. HE ENDED UP BEING HEAD INSTRUCTOR AT BULOVA SCHOOL OF WATCHMAKING. AFTER HE RETIRED SADLY THE SCHOOL CLOSED. VETERANS WATCHMAKING INITIATIVE SCHOOL STEPPED UP TO THE PLATE AND HAS GIVEN OUR VETS A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE. A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO NOT ONLY HAVE A GREAT PROFESSION AND BEING A PROVIDER FOR THEIR FAMILY.
THANK YOU VWI FOR ALL YOU ARE DOING FOR OUR VETS, I SUPPORT THIS SCHOOL 100%