John Deere Green

In the past two weeks, members of the Wood Shop have been working tirelessly on an unusual project. Last December, Kelly Dressel, Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of the Highlands, contacted Wood Shop Chairman, Steve Batey and asked if the volunteers from Tanglewood’s Wood Shop could build a wooden tractor for the children to explore while learning about agriculture and farming. She had grant money from Florida Naturals of Lake Wales, to purchase materials to rebuild their agriculture area in the museum.

They accepted the challenge and began working from a photo off the internet. When drawings were completed, two volunteer’s work and dimensions were figured exactly the same. After discussing the project with fellow members, a great crew came together to build an eight foot long, five foot wide, and seven foot tall resemblance of a John Deere Tractor.

Several other woodshop members observed the pile of wood stacked on a work bench and asked ‘How do you plan to move it out of here?”   As the project began to take shape, other woodshop volunteers became interested and offered their expertise. Bob Kapp, Larry Schleis, Mike Labozzetta, Dan and Cindy Murray, were some of the many hands that shaped the pile of lumber into a Big Green Tractor. Rumor has it one of the woodshop members tried to talk his wife into waiting another week before heading north because he wanted to see the project completed. Sorry Tom, look for photos on Facebook and Nextdoor Tanglewood.

Around 9:00 am, Monday, April 9th, Kelly’s crew arrived with a trailer to haul the tractor to Lake Shore Mall where the Children’s Museum of the Highlands is temporarily located. The open trailer slowly pulled the intact ‘Big Green Tractor’ with a caravan of volunteers following closely behind. Once there, the final assembly began by reattaching the yellow rimmed front and rear wood tires with black tread that you had to touch before confirming they too, were made of wood.

Tuesday morning a couple volunteers couldn’t resist going back to the museum to see how the preschoolers would react when they saw the new exhibit. A bright yellow grill encased the John Deere Green hollowed out engine where at least four children had climbed inside and were peeking out the square openings. One little boy was sitting on the yellow painted bench in between two small girls, smiling while spinning the steering wheel. At least three more children were in the cab of the tractor standing up and looking out the openings. Parents were impressed with the sturdiness as they walked around the seven foot high exhibit.

Congratulations on a job well done by our Volunteer Members of the Wood Shop in Tanglewood. Stop by the Children’s Museum at the Lakeshore Mall and see their handy work.

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Pam Batey

Moved to Tanglewood in August 2016, with husband, Steve and dog, Maggie. Retired Paramedic, now continuing my hobby writing short stories and information in the "You and Your Health" Section of the newsletter. Active Member of Tanglewood Community Church.