December 2, 2011 in City

Woodworkers a cherished part of Christmas Bureau

By The Spokesman-Review
 
To donate

• By mail: Spokesman-Review Christmas Bureau, P.O. Box 516, Spokane, WA 99210

• Online: spokesman.com/christmas-fund. Online donations can be made with a PayPal account or credit card (a processing charge of 2.9 percent plus 30 cents will be deducted from such donations).

• In person: Deliver your donation to the guard in the lobby of the S-R offices in Spokane at 999 W. Riverside Ave. or in Coeur d’Alene at 608 Northwest Blvd.

They had another guy drilling holes for windows in the Hoo-Hoo trucks at Harbor Crest senior apartments.    “He drilled about half the box and said, ‘I don’t like this,’ ” said Jack Eskeberg. “No, we didn’t get many holes from Earl.”

That’s when Hugh James stepped in. The drill press he can handle, James said this week over a table laden with toy trucks. He worked as he talked, painting the ends of wooden axles with glue and hammering on wheels the size of quarters.

His fellow club members let him work the router, too, he said, “but I am so blind they don’t let me do anything with the saws.”

Spokane’s Hoo-Hoo Club, a woodworking group, donated 800 trucks for kids in the Christmas Bureau’s child care area. The wood was provided by Dellen Wood Products, a Spokane maker of fireplace logs. Dellen no longer exists.

When Eskeberg moved to Harbor Crest, on the South Hill, he made sure it had a place for his tools. He has a band saw, the router and a couple of sanders stashed in a garage. The drill press is in an activity room. 

When James and his wife, Jacquelyn, moved to Harbor Crest, it was to live near their daughter. Jacquelyn James lived in the “memory care” unit. She had Alzheimer’s disease.

She died April 30, eight days after the Jameses’ 67th anniversary. Their daughter visits weekly from Cheney, James said. She helps with the trucks.

Gene Olsen, Dellen’s former CFO who works with the club, said they have enough wood left for three more years of toys. Whether they run out of supplies or volunteers first, he said, remains to be seen.

Hoo-Hoo members tend to last. Eskeberg is 87.

As for James: “I’m 93 years and 30 days. I’m counting. I don’t want to live to be 100, but I want to make it to 95.”

The Christmas Bureau has enough trucks. But it still needs donations. For complete information on how to give to the Christmas Fund, see Page A14.


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