Local teens give back to their community through Gracie’s Promise

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Jess Oakes

Torrington – Bidding is now closed for this year’s Gracie’s Promise Christmas wreaths and decorations. But bidding continues this week for the 14th annual Tree Festival.

This year, various styles of trees and other Christmas decorations were up for bid throughout Goshen County.

Grady Shields, a senior at Torrington High School, turned her hobby of “spinning wood” into a way to help her community.

Grady, the son of Dan and Georgine Shields, worked in a lumber store for many years. “I started making cutting boards with him,” Grady said, pointing to his father, Dan.

“It was a long time ago. We were making cutting boards and checkerboards,” Dan explained.

Dan owns a local lumber store, Century Lumber. “Then I started making fishing lures, and I saw a YouTube video of her recommending turning things on a lathe,” Grady explained. “It’s kind of what I picked up from there.”

Wood lathes are typically used to shape wood into cylindrical shapes. Today, many products in our homes are made using wood lathes. Some of these items may include furniture legs, bowls, baseball bats, stair railings, etc.

Traditional wood lathe tools consist of a movable tool post, wood fixing and fixing devices, and hand-held cutting tools in the form of long-handled gouges, skews, scrapers, and splitting tools.

The workpiece may be one solid piece of wood or a combination of many pieces of wood glued together. The workpiece is placed on the lathe using appropriate measurements and configurations. Once the part is properly secured and the machine is turned on, the lathe turns the wood for work and the carpenter can begin shaping the part with his tools. The lathe rotates the wood for processing from 200rpm to over 3000rpm.

For the past two years, Grady has volunteered to make Christmas ornaments for the Century Lumber tree to benefit Gracie’s Promise.

“I felt like my hobby could contribute to a good cause,” Grady explained. “I’ve been woodworking on and off for about three years.”

“As for Gracie’s promise, when he did it (made the ornaments) last year, he got a good response,” Dan explained. “He received such a nice thank you letter from Mary Hauser and founder Bud Watson. Bud also received one of the ornaments. It was pretty cool,” Dunn said. “I think something like that puts things into perspective.”

“The first year I asked him, ‘We’re making a Gracie’s Promise tree, do you think you could do the ornaments?’ and he agreed,” Dan explained. . “He just volunteered this year.”

“Century Lumber has been working on Gracie’s Promise for several years now, and his ornaments have made a huge difference in bidding on that tree,” Dunn said.

Grady developed his own Disciple using 62 pieces of cherry, walnut and maple wood. Each handmade ornament uses approximately 1 board foot of wood and takes approximately 1 hour to assemble, not including drying time.

This year there were 12 beautiful ornaments on the tree.

“I think the people who won the tree last year ended up splitting the ornaments, and Mary Hauser got one, Bud Watson got one, and she gave the rest as presents,” Dunn explained. “They were so beautiful because they were distributed. It was meaningful to everyone who received them.”

“I am amazed by the talent and generosity of this young man.” [Grady]” Meg Garrett, director of Gracie’s Promise, told the Telegram. “I’m speechless. He’s an amazing talent,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what he does with his talents as he continues to grow and learn more.”

Grady is active in baseball and is considering a career as a dentist.

“We are so grateful to Mr. Grady and all the tree donors who donated their time, energy and money for supplies and products,” Garrett said. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and wouldn’t have been possible without the donations.”

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