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Shumway enjoys woodworking and building for a good cause

Courtney Blankenship
Pratt Tribune
Pratt Community College former trustee and current supporter Darrell Shumway enjoys working with wood, using skills he likely learned from his father. He continues to make and donate interesting and usefull wood items to the PCC annual scholarship auction, like this barbeque table.

Pratt resident, Darrell Shumway, learned woodworking and carpentry skills from his father while growing up and has completed many different projects throughout the years but instead of selling the items he creates, he chooses to donate them.

“My dad did a lot of carpentering when I was young and I probably learned many of my skills from him. He always said, ‘don’t worry about making a mistake because when you learn from experience, you won’t forget,’” Shumway said. “I remodeled several houses while living in them, and Irene and I designed and built the house we live in now.”

A retired trustee of the Pratt Community College Board of Trustees, Shumway and his wife Irene, participate in the Pratt Community College Foundation’s annual scholarship auction every year by donating items or services to raise scholarship funds for students.

“The first auction was 32 years ago, and my wife and I had a dinner that we auctioned off then,” Shumway said. “Each year, we’ve given something to that foundation auction to be auctioned off.”

This year, Shumway built a portable handmade redwood patio bar to donate for the auction, which was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the item description on the list of auction items, the patio bar features a built-in 70 qt. cooler with an external drainage valve, a towel rack, a wine rack, a magnetic bottle cap opener, and a liquor storage compartment as well as an inlaid porcelain tile counter for cutting and mixing.

“I do a little bit of woodwork, you know, craftwork on the side, and that’s one reason why I did this,” Shumway said. “I’ve done it several times. One year, I made a redwood wagon wheel table---a coffee table---and had that on the auction items.”

Also featured in this year’s auction was a handcrafted cedar grill table Shumway made last year which was donated and resold in this year’s auction with a Green Egg Grill.

“We didn’t know how it would turn out this year because no one could actually go out and look and touch and see the things they were purchasing,” Shumway said. “But we felt it turned out pretty good considering.”

This year’s patio bar is the second one Shumway has made as last year’s patio bar was auctioned for $1,900.

“It was sold once to a person for a thousand dollars and that individual turned around and gave it back to the college to sell a second time, and the second time, it sold for $900,” Shumway said. “This year, because of the virtual auction, there was nobody out there that could touch it, feel it, and see what it was like, so, it sold for $620 this year.”

With several of the projects taking around 30 to 40 hours to complete, Shumway said, he does not have a set schedule but works on the projects whenever he can.

“I made six garden carts, three green egg cabinets, three portable bars and the wagon wheel redwood table,” Shumway said. “The six carts, two of the green egg tables and two of the portable bars were donated to the college as auction items.”

While Shumway has made some items for his own house, he said he has never sold any of the items he has made because he enjoys making and donating them for a good cause. That's all the reward he needs.