Campus security director creates patriotic art from discarded wood

by | Nov 10, 2016 | Other News

Sales benefit area youths living in shelters

Laine M. Rutherford

Jason Capossere brings an impressive list of resources and skills to his position as Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus director of security and safety.

He’s a veteran of the United States Navy, where he spent 20 years aboard five different ships, deployed 14 times, worked with the base police and served as an anti-terrorism officer before retiring as a First Class Petty Officer.

He’s well educated, having used his G.I. bill to earn four different degrees including science, criminal justice, energy management and Homeland security.


He’s developed networking and planning savvy, which have made the community safer, and since beginning work at the Campus in 2008, he’s established strong relationships with area emergency and public safety departments throughout Hampton Roads . Through his initiatives
, he’s helped the Campus, area Jewish organizations, and synagogues receive more than $150,000 in grants to improve their security set-ups.

Now, Capossere is sharing another of his skills with members of the Tidewater Jewish and greater communities— a skill newly honed this year. He’s become an artistic craftsman, creating one-of-a-kind pieces of rustic home décor—specifically, painted wooden flags made from upcycled wood pallets.

“I saw one of these flags and wanted one for myself, but they were too expensive,” says Capossere. “I thought maybe I could build one from the pallets we have here at the building— that we normally just throw away—and I started from there.”

The first ones, he says with a grin, weren’t that good. There was a lot of trial and error fitting the wood together, finding the right kind of paint and technique, and coming up with a design he liked.

Last spring, Capossere felt confident he’d achieved the look he wanted. He mounted one of his wooden American flag pieces on the wall of the security booth at the entry to the Simon Family JCC. Enquiries came in from patrons interested in purchasing a flag of their own—which had never been his intent. However, the attention the flag got spurred him to action: he’d try his hand at creating an Israeli flag version also, and if he did get any orders for his handiwork, he’d make them and contribute the proceeds to Seton House Youth Shelters— an organization for which he’s volunteered since his days in the Navy. “When I got out, I didn’t want to stop helping and just leave them hanging, “ he says. “They had their federal funding cut by 70 percent this year, and they can really use the contributions—they help thousands of kids every year who don’t have a safe place to live.”

Capossere’s goal is to raise $2,500 for the nonprofit. In addition to the cash donation, he’ll use some of the flag proceeds to supplement the Christmas gifts project he leads every year, and treat the kids to dinner and a movie.

“It feels good to fill a void. Especially when you’re used to getting up and serving your country every day— and these kids need our help.”

Capossere’s flags take a minimum of three days to make and can be hung indoors or out. They come in three different sizes and range in price from $20 to $50; more if customization is requested. He will have pieces on display and for sale at the Leon Family Art Gallery on the second floor of the Simon Family JCC this December.

For more information and to see more flags, visit www.