In the Beginning
Chad and Marilyn Caylor met in El Paso, Texas. They became parents to Victor when they were Sophomores at Eastwood High School in 1992. They married in 1995 and proceeded to have two more children, Sabrina and Chad Jr. Chad joined the Nebraska National Guard in 1997 and became Active Duty in the U.S. Army in 2000. The Army carried them to many magical places until they arrived in San Antonio and decided to grow roots. They adopted Jesus in 2011.
Master Sergeant (Ret.) Chad Caylor, deployed to Iraq twice as a light infantry Airborne medic. He returned from his second deployment with PTSD and life altering physical injuries. He sought mental health care despite the stigma that surrounds the decision to seek help. His journey greatly influences the Caylor family’s passion and commitment to Reforged.
Marilyn Caylor is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She offers free counseling to Veterans and their families in her private practice. She is earning a Ph.D., completing a dissertation on neurofeedback treatment for trauma. She is seeking certification in biofeedback to provide more treatment options for trauma survivors.
Reforged is Born
In traumatic events, our Veterans and First Responders risk their lives for each other and others, but often feel isolated when they come home. Though they have returned from the event physically, many memories of what occured still rage within them. Reforged was a concept born in the Caylor's garage while working with friends in their small home forge. Chad, Jason, and Marilyn felt a need pressed upon them to pursue a concept they had considered while mentoring Veterans and First Responders.
Chad and his family started a small blacksmith shop in their home in February 2018 under the mentorship of a Master Blacksmith. Since then, they mentored Veterans and their family members, teaching them how to transform a billet of steel into a beautiful knife with their own hands. In the casual environment of the forge, amongst others who shared similar experiences, the Alumni naturally gravitated toward difficult to discuss topics and shared skills they use to cope. Chad, Jason, and Marilyn noted they promoted mental health treatment for PTSD with many of the Alumni who forged a knife. The students relate their experiences to the transformation of the steel through heat and hammer blows. Students are taught how the steel may seem like it cannot withstand the stress, but with dedication, work, and assistance, a piece of steel endures so much yet can become something beautiful and useful.
After refining the idea of offering free knifemaking classes to Veterans and First Responders, our Founders presented their knife making class with the mental health care concepts integrated into the curriculum to two new students. These students were so passionate about what he presented, they encouraged the Founders to start a nonprofit and committed to being on the board once they established the organization. They shared their experience with others through social media and within days Reforged received many requests and referrals from Veterans and First Responders to attend.
Caylor Forge and Leatherworks provides all safety equipment and materials at several hundred dollars per student. Reforged volunteers feed the students. The Caylor's invite students to stay at their home. Chad takes unpaid time off to teach the classes. Their goal is to always offer free classes and counseling to all Veterans and First Responders.
Several members of the Veteran and First Responder community and others who support their causes commit their time and resources to this program. Some supporters of Reforged purchase supplies for others to attend the class. Some students offered to mentor the next set of students. Several generous supporters contributed equipment. A spouse of an Alumni offered to help seek grants. Counselors are available to offer mental health support.
Reforged is committed to purchasing equipment to better serve our Veterans and First Responders with physical disabilities. They are seeking a donations to purchase more grinders and tables so disabled Veterans can forge a knife with more autonomy.
Reforged is seeking funding to acquire additional counselors and expand services at no cost to Veterans and First Responders.