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Firefighters receive 'thank you' bird houses from NHS students

Cary Ashby • Dec 1, 2018 at 10:00 PM

All the Norwalk firefighters received a surprise gift from Chris Jackson’s Norwalk High School advanced woodworking class Friday afternoon — bird houses they made.

“This is impressive,” Chief John Soisson said. 

Each red and black bird house is personalized with the firefighter’s badge number.

“They look awesome. We appreciate it. These things mean a lot to our guys and it will be something unique at everyone’s house. Be careful; if the word gets out, you guys might be mass producing a lot,” Soisson said.

The chief joked with the students to make sure they had all their fingers since they used a laser cutter to cut out the numbers out for the badge numbers.

The project — the first of the year for Jackson’s class — wasn’t without its challenges.

“We did it as a mass-production project, so they didn’t make one; they made a specific part to it,” the teacher told the firefighters. “You work as a team to do what you do and we had to work as a team. It was the first time we had done a mass-production project and we had some ups and downs and some rebuilds and some repainting.”

The students started the project several weeks ago, based on a design Jackson found online. When the Reflector was in the classroom, the students shared what they were doing and how the bird houses were being made.

One of the challenges they faced was getting some of the parts cut correctly.

“We still can’t get a perfect circle on it,” sophomore Braden Lloyd said.

The uniformity of the angles and notches also proved to be another obstacle. Lloyd said the difficulty was “getting everything to look the same.”

Junior Anthony Weisenberger talked about using the laser cutter on the numbers. Jackson’s class was the first time he used the device, which he described as a “pretty cool” experience.

“The (badge) number will have a 3-D look to it, giving it some depth,” he said.

Weisenberger had to remember the settings on the laser cutter each time he made one.

“That’s a lot to remember before you cut them out,” he said.

Jackson talked about why the class made bird houses for the firefighters. Not only are they gifts for “people out there risking their lives,” the teacher said the project also instills in the students “a sense of pride” and ownership in their home town.

When presenting the bird houses to the firefighters Friday, Jackson said they represent “a thank you and appreciation for being on the front lines for us.”

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