Brillion, Wis. (WFRV) – “In high school, I was way too focused on being the class clown. In fact, if you cracked open a yearbook from Wrightstown class of ’08, I’m in there as class clown,” said Louis VandeHey.

Knowing college wasn’t for him at the time, VandeHey joined the navy in 2009.

“The economy was just not great, so I ended up in the Navy recruiting office, and I ended up in the Navy as an aviation electricians mate,” he said.

Troubleshooting electrical systems on airplanes, VandeHey now found himself 5,000 miles away from home, stationed in Hawaii.

VandeHey says he’s always had a fascination with airplanes and working with his hands, so it seemed like the perfect fit.

“My experience in the military kind of got my head on my shoulders and then after I got out I went straight to school, I went to Stout for their technology education program,” said VandeHey.

After five years in the military, his day job his day job is now is at Oshkosh Defense as a trainer.

But VandeHey is also working on developing what he found as peace after the military, into a passion: Woodworking.

“I really like coming out here and I can just mentally escape. It’s nice to live out in the country and have a hobby that’s out here, away from everything else. It’s just nice to get out here, and get away, and make something with my hands,” said VandeHey.

VandeHey’s business is called Willowtree Woodworking, a business which he got certified as Veteran-Owned. 

His message to other vets; If you have a passion, let people know and always make sure to support those who put their lives on the line to defend our country.

“One of the first things I did when I established the business was get the certification as a Wisconsin Veteran-Owned Business,” VandeHey said.

“You know I think this generation is different from past generations in that people are really excited to support veterans and so I feel like if you can represent that you are Veteran-Owned. People are excited about giving you their business.  I just like what that insinuates as well as highlighting opportunities for other veterans and getting that exposure,” he said.