In today’s fast-paced world, where work often dominates our lives, it’s easy to overlook the importance of hobbies. Yet, these leisure activities play a vital role in maintaining our mental health, enhancing our creativity, and boosting our overall well-being.

In 2023, President and CEO Jim O’Farrell implemented AMSG’s Hobby Program, offering employees a $1,000 allowance to pursue passions outside of work. To date, AMSG has funded more than $20,000 in hobbies. Whether it’s painting, gardening, or cycling, the program encourages employees to invest in activities that bring them joy and fulfillment.

For one retired Marine Corps Veteran, this initiative has been a game-changer. Terrill Musselmen, a Marine who retired after 20 years of dedicated service, now works at AMSG on the U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill (USAFCOEFS) Field Artillery Officer Courses Support Services Contract. A husband, father, and gunnery instructor at FA BOLC-B in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he teaches “lieutenants how to do the math to get an artillery round from Point A to Point B.” But in his spare time, he tinkers with various DIY projects – the latest being woodworking.

His journey into woodworking began at a young age. Influenced by his father and grandfather, who instilled in him a love for working with his hands, Terrill began tinkering and building things starting in high school. From early projects in 4-H to building a cedar chest in high school, woodworking has been a constant thread in Terrill’s life.

“Tinkering and woodworking has to be in my blood because my father worked at a steel mill for 16 years and my grandfather had a shop in the basement of his house, making toy barns for the family,” Terrill recalls fondly.

Recently, he refurbished the cedar chest he built in high school after carrying it with him throughout his 20-year military career. A labor of love, he breathed new life into this treasured piece of his past. “I used a lot of the hobby fund to replace some parts, and now it’s sitting in my bedroom. It’s clear coated and it looks a lot better than it did,” he shares proudly.

For Terrill, it’s not just about the end product, but about the process of turning an idea into reality that captivates him. “There’s something about taking raw materials and turning them into something tangible,” he says. “Sometimes I look around the house and I start thinking, ‘I wish I had something for this.’” One of his most ambitious projects to date is the renovation of his kitchen, where he and his wife tackled remodeling themselves. From installing the cabinets to building a nook and crafting his family’s kitchen farm table and bench, these pieces in their home bears the mark of his craftsmanship and dedication.

More than a woodworker, Terrill also tinkers with electronics and other gadgets. “I just like to tinker. I dabble in so many things that I know just enough,” he admits with a grin. Next year, he plans to use his hobby allowance to buy a 3D printer. “This year was woodworking and metal plating,” he says. “Next year it will be 3D printing. I don’t know what I want to do with it yet. I’m still debating on what printer I want to get because there are so many options.”

For Terrill, tinkering is a way of life – a testament to his creativity and craftsmanship. Whether he’s building furniture for his home or tinkering with new projects in his workshop, Terrill finds solace and satisfaction in the act of creation. “I’m grateful to work for a company that values its employees and offers programs like these,” Terrill says. “The hobby program has given me the opportunity to pursue different passions, and it’s made a world of difference in my life.”

Written by: Juania Owens