Soldiers Workshop offers once-homeless veterans creative outlet

New program is part of Operation Home in Cedar Rapids


By Alison Gowans

Jarome Thompson is deep in concentration.

His focus falls on two small pieces of pink-colored rosewood spinning quickly on a lathe in a basement workshop on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids.

The U.S. Army veteran takes great care in shaping and smoothing the wood pieces. The familiar form of a pen begins to emerge.

“I like the fact you’re making something by hand,” he says.

Thompson, 54, is one of a handful of local veterans taking part in “Soldiers Workshop,” a program offered by Hawkeye Area Community Action Program’s Operation Home initiative.

Operation Home helps homeless veterans and those at-risk of homelessness find housing and other resources.

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