Tribune Print Share Text

Patriotic partnership

Woodworkers craft Uncle Sam lawn ornaments to raise money for Station 22

Created date

May 21st, 2013

For almost ten years, Greenspring, an Erickson Living community in Springfield, Va., has looked for innovative and thoughtful ways to show appreciation to Station 22 of the Greater Springfield Volunteer Fire Department. Located just over 1.5 miles from Greenspring, the fire department provides consistent and timely emergency service and support to the community. We are so grateful to have the support of Station 22 at Greenspring, says Robin Gliboff, Greenspring s executive director. The station provides first-rate service to our community, and we are delighted to be able to support some of their needs. This past October, generous Greenspring community members donated $10,000 to the fire station to be used toward equipment, supplies, and station improvements. Now, in addition to monetary support, two of the community s craftsmen, Bill Campbell and Wes Euler, are getting their hands dirty in the campus woodshop to help fund some of the station s small projects.

Crafty craftsmen

Sgt. Rick Machado of Station 22 approached our woodshop in the hopes that we would consider a volunteer project in support of the station, says Bill, woodshop treasurer. Wes and I agreed to create and paint 50 Uncle Sam yard ornament flag holders that would be sold by the fire station. When we met with Rick and he explained the station s need, I was glad to help, adds Wes. Machado provided the craftsmen with a template and supplies for the yard ornaments. Bill meticulously drew the patterns onto the wood, and Wes used the woodshop s band saw to cut out the intricate Uncle Sam. Bill then carefully hand painted each ornament, a process that took more than two months. I tried to spend two hours each evening painting the Sams in my kitchen, says Bill. Each side needed to be painted, meaning that each ornament took at least two days. It was a labor of love. He did a terrific job, says Wes. Bill has a real talent. After the Sams were painted, I glued the arms on the body, and they were ready to go. The station hopes to raise $2,500 from our efforts. I think that s wonderful. The craftsmanship provided by Bill and Wes on the Uncle Sams, or Sams as we call them, is truly professional, says Machado. The many hours they spent laying out a process, cutting, assembling, and painting each Sam are clearly visible in each finely crafted piece of American patriotism.

Symbol of summer

With Independence Day right around the corner, Machado hopes that the Sams will sell quickly and occupy lawn space throughout the Springfield area. However, as the station s largest merchandise-oriented fundraising effort ever, the Sams will also be available to those outside the local area. In addition to selling the Sams at a series of local events, Machado is offering the Sams for a limited time on eBay. It s amazing to think that a project that occupied space in my kitchen for so long could end up on a lawn somewhere across the country, says Bill. The proceeds for the Uncle Sam sale will go toward a variety of needs at Station 22, including the purchase of new computers and fire safety materials for kids. Additionally, the funds will help in purchasing giveaways at events such as the station s October open house, the December breakfast with Santa, and fire safety displays at the Springfield Farmers Market and Springfield Days. Monies will also go toward the purchase of supplies needed to restock the station s canteen unit, which provides refreshments to fire fighters on the scene of major fires and other incidents.

A show of thanksgiving

Machado, in an effort to properly thank Bill and Wes for their dedication, generosity, and craftsmanship, recently visited Greenspring and presented the two men with personalized awards of appreciation. I remember when I stopped by Greenspring to pick up the ornaments, Bill and Wes had Sams everywhere around their apartments, says Machado. They probably have dreams of Sams in their sleep. It was fun, and while it was a time-consuming job, it was worth all the effort, says Wes. As a member of the Greenspring community, it is a real comfort to know that Station 22 is here for us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, says Bill. I ve needed them to take me to the hospital before, and they were a real blessing. I sure hope these Sams make them a lot of money!