Wheat Ridge, Colo. - To find this week's 7Everyday Hero our Mitch Jelniker took a trip back in time, to an era when toys were made by hand. Toys that help Colorado children have brighter futures.
It is an old wood shop in Wheat Ridge, inside are skilled craftsmen who are all volunteers. They call themselves the Woodchucks.
They transform raw, donated lumber into beautiful, colorful toys. Wooden airplanes, cars, dogs, horses, and caterpillars line the workbenches and shelves.
"We build toys for the needy children," said volunteer Glen Wickhorst.
Wickhorst is considered the head Woodchuck.
"But it's quite by accident. No one else wanted to do it," Wickhorst laughed.
The Woodchucks shop is a project of the Seniors' Resource Center, which serves older adults and those with disabilities.
Its programs keep many seniors active through volunteering. In other words, it is people staying active helping others.
The Woodchucks have turned out more than 10 thousand toys for children less fortunate.
"Last Christmas we gave away 950 (toys) right at Christmas," said Wickhorst.
Wickhorst has given his time at the shop five days a week for 18 years. No pay has been necessary.
"To just see their faces when they get them is really enough," said Wickhorst.
Wickhorst has given a lot in his life. He served his country in World War II as an Army Air Corps tail gunner on a B-17. And he has put in more 16,000 hours of volunteer time at the wood shop.
"All of our volunteers are valuable, but none more so than Glen Wickhorst," said John Zabawa, Pres., & CEO of the Seniors' Resource Center.
The Woodchucks grant for their shop runs out this summer, so if you know of a space to keep these heroes working, go to the seniors' resource center website: www.srcaging.org