Millions collected, Tampa charity for veterans goes MIA
By: Steve Andrews
Posted: Sep 04, 2018
People donated millions to Tampa charity VetMade Industries, Inc., to help train unemployed, disabled veterans.
The program was designed to teach veterans how to make Adirondack style furniture and get them them used to reporting for work and getting a paycheck.
An 8 On Your Side investigation found as donations from a generous public poured in, the woodworking shop at VetMade Industries stayed empty, the machinery sat idle, the doors closed tight.
According to founder and Executive Director John Campbell, the whole program was on hold.
How long has it been on hold?
"Going on five years, that we're, I call it a caretaker status," Campbell explained.
Tax records show that in three years, $5.5 million dollars in donations flowed into VetMade Industries.
During that same period, not one veteran received training.
"Zero goes to the veterans," retired Army veteran Ken Cook said.
Cook was among the original volunteers at VetMade Industries when it launched in 2009.
What he found was disappointing.
"There was a high falutin fancy program on paper, but the reality was that there wasn't any kind of organized training going on in any way, shape or form," Cook stated.
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