Published: Jul 07, 2014 5:59 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 07, 2014 6:08 PM EDT

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Building a model airplane or ship can be time consuming and fun! For some of our American heroes, it also acts as therapy.

A few men with the Veteran's Village in Punta Gorda are building models that will be displayed in the Southwest Florida Military Museum in Cape Coral. These veterans are also in the process of getting back on their feet and finding a home after war, and building models is a new part of the process.

The pieces are small, the parts are a puzzle, but for Tom Carnes, they represent a challenge.
Carnes is a veteran who served in Iraq. He suffers from the trauma of war. "Sleepless nights. Some anger issues," he said.

He's one of 24 men at the Veteran's Village in Punta Gorda. It's a program aimed at helping southwest Florida's homeless veterans get back on their feet.

About a month ago he met Ramon Villanueva with the Invest in America's Veterans Foundation, and a new idea was born: the veterans will build models, and the finished products will be displayed in the military museum.

WINK News is learning building models isn't only fun for the veterans, but therapeutic.

"Each time they put a piece, paint the model, it allows them to have them to have that nostalgic moment to work through their own grief process, their own loss process and transition to civilian life," said Kerrie Wilson with the Veteran's Village.

Building them builds determination, and a sense of purpose, participating in a legacy.

"It's something that people are going to see long after the wars have subsided, and our names go in the wind. Something that's tangible is still going to be there on display to see so people don't forget," said Carnes.

The models built at the Veteran's Village will hang or sit in different exhibits in the military museum in Cape Coral. Underneath will be a plaque with the name of the veteran who built it.

Punta Gorda Veteran's Village

1250 Taylor St. #322, Punta Gorda FL, 33950

Phone (941) 505-0421

Southwest Florida Military Museum