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AV woodworkers teach shop students after tough year
APPLE VALLEY • A local group of woodworkers had a rough year in 2012, but they're setting up shop to cut their way through 2013 and helping their community along the way.
Gary Landry, 73, is a club member of the High Desert Woodworking Association. The club, which has been active for more than a decade, saw two of its members die in early 2012, throwing their future into doubt.
Senior member Ronald McKinley died in February 2012. David “Dusty” Desterhouse died in March. Desterhouse had allowed the club to use his professional wood shop for its projects and club meetings, according to Landry, but the club was at a loss on how to hold the club together and where to meet, he said.
Through the gracious efforts of the Apple Valley Unified School District, Landry said, the club gained access to a room at the High Desert Premier Academy.
“We are in the club room in an advisory and demonstration role,” Landry said. Part of the deal with the district is that the club would help instruct the school’s woodworking student club. “This has been a blessing for both groups.”
All members of HDWA are also members of the American Association of Woodturners. The members observe students’ procedures for safety practices, and demonstrate proper methods to accomplish student projects.
The club has two ongoing community projects that were interrupted by the events of 2012. One project builds children’s crutches that the club then gives to local churches to send to other countries. Through their other community project they build small chairs to sell and to donate to local organizations.
Though they operate mostly on a low budget, Landry said the cost of tools, wood supplies and insurance they’re required to have as members of the AAW is again leaving the club’s future uncertain.
“We’re trying to supply a lot of tools and wood supplies for the kids and, frankly, we’re running out of money,” Landry said. “And we’re going to be hit with this insurance payment soon. We’re at the end of our rope unless we can find whatever will help us.”
He said the club will gladly accept donations of wood tools, wood, scrap metal of all kinds and cash for their ongoing projects. Landry also said the club has access to a trailer and will pick up materials anyone wants to donate.
Landry, who’s been working with his hands since he was 12 years old, has a deep love for woodworking and teaching.
“I’m just a person who enjoys teaching and helping people,” he said. “It’s just something that’s ingrained in me. If someone needs something, I try to help them. I kind of mentor our students and work with them and hope that it will give them valuable benefits for their future.”
Landry said anyone who wants to donate or know more about the club can call him at (760) 559-0724.
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