Mechanics for Vets “A Hand UP…Not a Handout”

“That initial hand up can make all the difference to someone in need” says Corey Duckett the owner and operator of Mechanics for Vets, an organization that helps vets who need some assistance with car repair and maintenance. 

He tells me “people often get it wrong when dealing with veterans”. He explains, Veterans have pride, not only for their country but a deeply set engrained philosophy of hard work and providing for one’s self. There are roughly 36,000 veterans in the 100-mile radius of Siouxland, Duckett states. 

They are not looking for a handout and are often likely not to ask, or even look for assistance. But they do sometimes struggle, like anyone else. 

After coming back from active duty and transitioning into civilian life, money can be tight. Getting to and from work can be a challenge if your car is not working or in bad need of repair. This is where Corey comes in. His mission, as a vet himself, is to take action for that hand up in providing simple assistance and support to another vet. If you need a part for your car or some serious work done, he can help. 

He is often found on Facebook Live streaming his thoughts and helping get the word out that he has the skills and know how to help another vet. He can find parts like no other. He will scour the 50 states, and all over the world, to find a part for your car…and install it. Missing a few days of work due to car trouble, or not being able to get your kids to school, can be troublesome and costly. 

As a society, we are more aware than ever, the cost that war has on our good men and women in uniform. We also know that our vets often suffer from PTSD. A U.S. News and World Report (June 28, 2019) article states that 11 to 20 of every 100 veterans who served in the Iraqi and Enduring Freedom Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. That is about 20% of enlisted soldiers. Corey himself knows that coming back from war takes its pound of flesh. 

After his return stateside, and once his service ended, he came back to Northwest Iowa to be with family and children. A Sergeant in the Army, serving in Afghanistan was radically different than life in rural Iowa, as native Texan, he wasn’t quite sure what his new purpose was. He had some health struggles and found it challenging to re-insert himself back into everyday life. Most vets can relate to this very real aspect of transition, he knew he needed to find a life sustaining purpose. Corey went to Western Iowa Tech Community College, then finished his degree in Business at Morningside College. He’s a local now and calls Iowa, home! He used his degree in business, and his knowledge of car repair, and made that passion his purpose. He thought, “maybe I have something here” …like most patriotic servicemen, he knew he wanted to focus on something where he could “give back”. And Mechanics for Vets was born…Corey says it saved his life! 

Now he wants to pay it forward by offering his skills to those that need it. He can put a radiator in for you, or work a brake system, heck, he can even walk you through the repair on the phone! Yes, He has done it a few times…He has helped out 25-30 vets in these last few years from all over the country. People seek his services out through social media and word of mouth…He is always excited and anxious to help out! And now he is ready to expand his platform. 

Mechanics for Vets is a 501C3 non-profit organization with a local Board of Directors that have a big vision. They are former enlisted men and Patriotic Americans with direct knowledge in how to communicate and serve other vets in this vastly changing world they inhabit. 

His vision is to one day have a few more guys like himself working on these cars and assisting a comrade with a needed and available service. He started work this past fall on a new building where he can service multiple vehicles and house tools and parts. His trustworthy and sincere ways are evident when he speaks on how he would like to have a part in changing the world for the better. He sees life through the lens of someone that knows the price of freedom, and that understands that a man, or woman, stands for his/her country, is trustworthy and honest, and that a good day’s work is why this country thrives in democracy. “No one is the same” he says…”It’s a Duckettism”…I learned this while serving my country and I know what the ultimate price is…He intends to pay it forward and be that hand up. 

Most recently he’s inked a deal with Advance Auto Parts for commercial pricing which will help keep part cost substantially lower and more readily available.) (Mechanics for Vets is always looking for car parts and tools…

By Peggy Higman

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