Meet the Vets Restore Recruits

Vets Restore participants tour Rafn Company renovation project at Plymouth Church, Seattle © 2014 4Culture
Vets Restore participants tour Rafn Company renovation project at Plymouth Church, Seattle © 2014 4Culture

4Culture is pleased to welcome five participants to the second session of VETS RESTORE, a program connecting veterans to the historic preservation trades. This year we enrolled two women and three men from diverse military and construction backgrounds – ALL with a dedicated interest in preserving old buildings. Welcome Kevin Bottini, Easton Branam, Zoe Gillespie, Dwight Jones, and Gabriel Jones!

Kevin Bottini is a veteran of the U.S. Army with a background in construction, having worked on both residential and commercial remodel, and new construction. Zoe Gillespie served in the Army post 9/11. She enjoys woodworking and may be interested in pursuing that craft in the maritime field, restoring old boats. Dwight Jones is a Navy veteran, and has a keen interest in working for a construction firm with a solid portfolio of restoration and renovation projects. Easton Branam served in the Army post 9/11, and is a trained landscape architect. She is interested in the materials, artistry, and social history of older buildings and landscapes. Gabriel Jones also served in the Navy and, after active duty, joined the Naval Reserves Construction Battalion. He enrolled in Vets Restore because he appreciates the real craftsmanship, time, and pride put into historic buildings, and wants to be part of their preservation.

During their first week, the recruits were introduced to Washington Hall, which will be their classroom for the next three weeks. Already the group has been investigating some of the Hall’s unique architectural features, and will be learning from its ongoing restoration work as the training continues.

Last week the recruits were treated to a special job site visit at Plymouth Church in Seattle, where Scott Jones, Rafn Company General Superintendent, gave the group a fascinating tour of their current interior renovation. This week another Vets Restore affiliate J.A.S. will be leading a job site tour at a private property in Ravenna. The site visits meet Vets Restore’s objective of introducing the recruits to current restoration/renovation work by leading preservation-oriented companies, in order to learn from and support the good work of the field.

For potential employers interested in finding out more about each Vets Restore participant, we will be adding individual profile pages to the Vets Restore website. Please check back often, and stay tuned for updates to the blog and social media as we continue to chronicle our participants’ progress.