One cadet in the Rubenstein Center’s carpentry vocational program spearheaded the project of constructing three benches that will add to the veteran’s park in Thomas.
Cadet Project Foreman Austin drafted, cut, and assembled the wooden benches that will provide an opportunity for a brief respite for Thomas shoppers.
The benches will reside in the veteran’s park where Front St. and Spruce St. meet in Thomas. The park, located right below City Hall, also has an attractive flower garden in the spring and summer.
“I liked that the project added to the veteran’s park, that has some meaning,” Project Foreman Austin, who has veterans in his family, said.
Pervious AmeriCorps volunteer Natalia Dutt initiated the project, and now current AmeriCorps volunteer Matt Morris is seeing that the project gets finished. Morris started his tenure in Thomas in September 2018 as part of Woodlands Development Group and New Historic Thomas’ Appalachian Forest Heritage Area program. New Historic Thomas is the group overseeing the completion of this particular project.
Morris coordinated with Rubenstein’s carpentry program to get the project done. “Luckily, these guys were able to make the benches for us,” Morris said.
Project Foreman Austin’s skilled craftsmanship and an adept understanding of the trade are evident in the benches.
“I kind of gave him some patterns to start with, and then I just left him on it, and he took care of it,” Travis Hambrick, the carpentry program instructor, said. “He asked questions when he had any.”
Project Foreman Austin also created an ingenious bench that folds open into half of a picnic table. The plan is to build a mate that will face the other bench, and when both are folded open, conjoin to make a full table.
The carpentry program is one of three career and technical programs at the center. Hamrick learned his carpentry skills from Tucker Valley High School. He has led this program for 14 years.
“The point of the program is for students to get an idea of the workforce, so that when they leave, they have skills,” Hamrick said. The carpentry program offers two certifications, Introduction to Carpentry and Carpentry 1. Hamrick runs the program like a regular class.
The program runs under the name Blackwater Construction. The purpose is to give cadets an understanding of what it takes to work for a contracting company. Project Foreman Austin already obtained a number of certifications that may make starting work for a contracting company once he leaves a little bit easier. “When I go home, I’d like to get into a construction company, start from the bottom, and then work my way up,” Project Foreman Austin said.