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Minwax names Community Craftsman Award recipients

Minwax, a manufacturer of wood finishing and wood care products, selected Bossier Kids Inc., a foster care agency in Bossier City, La., as the grand prize winner in the 2010 Community Craftsman Award Program.

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The award was made possible through the contributions of three generous woodworkers — Leon Freeman, Joe McDaniel and Jim Stoval, affectionately known around the agency as the "Crafty Old Men." The volunteers have built sturdy beds for the foster children — who in some cases have had to leave their homes with few personal belongings — to have a safe place to sleep.

The Minwax Community Craftsman Award is a national program that recognizes individuals and groups that promote community improvement through working with wood, and awards them financial grants and products to encourage continued community service. As the 2010 Community Craftsman Award grand prize winner, Bossier Kids receives a $5,000 cash grant, a supply of Minwax products and a private wood finishing workshop with renowned do-it-yourself expert and author Bruce Johnson.

The volunteers of Bossier Kids, by designing and building these beds, saved the nonprofit agency precious funds, freeing up resources to support the foster children in other ways.

The 2010 Individual Recognition Award — including a $2,000 cash grant and a supply of Minwax products — was awarded to woodworking instructor Cliff Hay of the Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester, Vt. Hay and his students have worked on projects benefitting Habitat for Humanity, a local day-care organization, a veteran's center, and the school itself. Hay also took a group of students to New Orleans to help clean up and rebuild after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area.

Two organizations were named Community Craftsman Award runners-up for outstanding community service — the woodworking class at Lincoln Park High School in Brownsville, Texas, and Rick Jason of Germantown, N.Y.

Each will receive an assortment of Minwax products for use in future projects. The students at Lincoln Park High School constructed a variety of therapeutic wood furniture pieces for the Moody Clinic, which serves disabled children and their families. The students built adjustable chairs and tables and balance boards and built a therapeutic wood gym in the clinic, using a ShopBot CNC machine to cut precision wood parts. Jason designed and constructed furniture and library shelves, otherwise known as "stacks," for the town's new library, spending more than 600 hours designing, building and installing the woodwork.

Entries are being accepted for the 2011 Community Craftsman Award. Individuals, community groups, schools, and associations that promote and participate in the betterment of their communities through woodworking are eligible participants. The deadline for all submissions is Dec. 31. Winners will be announced in spring 2012.

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