Woodworking Business Helps Veterans Ease Back Into Civilian Life

Rustic Allegiance Provides Jobs And Support For U.S. Service Members

By Molly Allen
The transition from military service to civilian life can be incredibly difficult, but one local business is trying to help with that struggle.
Rustic Allegiance Woodworks is doing more than just handcrafting custom art pieces — it’s creating a home in the Yakima community for those who need it.
“We’re building a platform of community and understanding. I understand what people are going through because I’ve been through it myself,” said owner Brady Lamb, 34, who served eight years in the Marines.
Lamb got the idea of starting the business last year when he and his friend, Tom Stone, worked on a patriotic bench together for a family member’s Christmas gift.
The creativity and craftsmanship of the bench received so many compliments that a number of family friends told Lamb he should go into business and sell the pieces.
Lamb, who also owns Better Air Lawn & Landscaping, started the business in February as a creative outlet, but also in hopes of offering jobs to people with a history of military service.
“The purpose is really to inspire and to help others,” he said. “The goal is to build up the business so I can offer employment to anyone affected — employment from someone who understands.”
Lamb graduated from West Valley High School in 2003 and enlisted in the Marines after he discovered that college wasn’t a fit for him. He chose a different path in hopes of creating a better quality of life for him in the future.
Stone has been working with Lamb since the beginning, and although he didn’t serve in the military himself, his family has been well represented. Five of his brothers served, while his son is currently serving in the Navy.
Part of Lamb’s motivation is to offer those coping with military transition a way to be productive and to work through the issues that are associated with returning home.
It can be a difficult transition, but Lamb believes veterans need to be built up and supported, rather than be left alone in a world of self-pity.
“The people we’re trying to support had a sense of identity in service, which changes drastically when you come home,” Lamb said. “It’s hard to find an employer who gets that. But this is a place to come do a job, to be creative, be productive and to be around someone who gets it.”
Although the business officially launched in February, it wasn’t until Rustic Allegiance had a booth at last month’s Central Washington State Fair that Lamb really felt they were offering something unique to the community.
“We had so many people stop by, telling us how much they loved our work and our craftsmanship,” Lamb said. “And we received a lot of custom orders from that, which reaffirmed my plans.”
Rustic Allegiance crafts hand-carved original art pieces, including benches, wall hangings and even concealed gun cases, disguised as wall art. Each piece is one-of-a-kind, with no detail left untouched.
“We carve each of the 50 stars by hand on our flag pieces,” Lamb said. “I think that’s a great testament to our level of quality and attention to detail.”
Rustic Allegiance’s products incorporate a rustic, yet modern, style. The majority of their pieces are crafted from pine or cedar — or with reclaimed barn wood — and each project takes an average of six hours to complete.
Since February, the business has also played a role in raising over $15,000 for community organizations, including the Mule Deer Foundation, SOZO Sports Complex and Youth Outdoors Unlimited.
“This is more than just a business for me,” Lamb said. “As the business grows, we’ll be able to help more people. We’re a group who stands for the country and for the flag, and we’re shining a light on that in our community.”
To learn more about Rustic Allegiance, visit http://www.rusticallegiance.com.

Originally published in Yakima Business Times

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