He didn't give up after the injury, he makes caps with a wooden brim
The life of 35-year-old Aleš Raus from Ružomberok was marked by a tragic accident. Still, he didn't give up. Today, he stands on his own two feet again, works, plays sports and motivates others.
We met Aleš in the place where he spends most of his time - in his sheltered workshop. Clothes hang on the hangers, unusual caps have their place on the shelves. You can feel the originality of every single piece, but also the many hours of work done.
Two things immediately catch your attention about Aleš - the unusual cap on his head and the crutch in his hands. "I was 20 years old," Aleš begins his story. "After my first year at university, I went to work in England over the summer. I fell off a ladder, broke my spine and became completely paralyzed on the lower part of my body. I was operated on there for the first time."
The operation took place on the eighth day for unknown reasons, after which he was transported to Slovakia. However, doctors at the Ružomberok military hospital discovered that one of the screws that fixed the vertebrae extended into the spinal canal.
After the mistake of the English doctors, there was a threat that Aleš would remain permanently confined to a wheelchair. This was followed by a reoperation in Nové Zámky. "Three weeks after the injury, I started to feel my legs from the knees down. I started to slowly engage some muscle parts and for a couple of years I combined a wheelchair and crutches. Now only crutches are helping me," he returns to the gradual improvement of his health.
Today, he exercises not only at home or in a fitness center, but also does sports professionally. Every Wednesday, he practices parahockey, which is played on sleds, at the winter stadium in Dolní Kubín. He says that precisely because of the barrier-free nature of the stadium, the best conditions in Slovakia have been created there.
He also represented the Zlín club SHK LAPP in sledge hockey. During the summer, he cycles and tries to motivate other people whose lives have been permanently affected by a medical injury.
Aleš starts his working day in his sheltered workshop, where he works on computer graphics and computer services. In addition, three years ago he also started working on a unique project, thanks to which he became known even beyond the borders of Slovakia.
The idea of inventing your own brand arose thanks to surfing the Internet. "I was looking at what was trendy, and I came up with the idea of making caps with a wooden brim," recalls Aleš. At that time, no one produced wooden caps, today they know about the competition.
Since the creation of the Čapica brand, he has produced more than 800 caps. Nine subcontractors are involved in production, but each one passes directly through Aleš's hands. "I take care of the visor. I work with the veneers, which I will still process, and then I grind - mill and finish every single visor. I make sure that you can't see how it is attached to the cap, so that it looks as aesthetic as possible," describes the creative Ružomberčan about his work.
He can engrave wooden visors from the bottom as well as from the top, and offers approximately 25 motifs, among which is Kriváň, Čičmian patterns or modern slogans. However, it also gives space to artists who leave their original creations on the visors. In addition, it also produces caps for skateboard and longboard lovers.
And although his parents, assistants and friends are his biggest support, he would like someone else to help him in the future. "For now, I am alone in the workshop, but I plan to hire one helper, also a disabled person. It's already too much for me," sighs Aleš.
The caps will arrive to their new owners in a box that resembles a tree stump. Aleš's whole project has a deeper idea. "From every single cap sold, I donate a euro to plant new trees. I promote the philosophy that one should not only take from nature, but also give it something. Therefore, in each box you will also find a tree seed for planting or a few drops of essence that smells like a forest."
Aleš's caps are not only intended for young people. He admits that parents also buy them for their children, but he also sold one to a 70-year-old man or even a Baptist preacher. However, well-known actors, athletes or singers can also boast of hats with a wooden brim.
He also often makes orders for companies that have their own logo or motto engraved. He even makes adjustments for vegans – he replaces the leather logo and strap with leatherette. He even makes adjustments for vegans – he replaces the leather logo and strap with leatherette.
Caps with a wooden brim are already known abroad. He has already sent many to England, Germany, the Netherlands, France, the United States and Japan.
In addition to these, it also produces sweatshirts, T-shirts and bags, which are covered with Velcro rings.
"Adults and children can stick various patches that I offer on their clothes, or create their own. They can also write some text on them and leave a message to their friends or parents," Aleš describes his production offer.
Of course, the young creator is also known and popular in his hometown. And as others help him, he also tries to help others. He spreads his life legacy, for example, through motivational lectures for pupils and students of Ružomberok schools.