Wheelchair Woodworking #2: Time to move on.

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Blog entry by Jamie Speirs posted 11-18-2010 12:59 AM 1815 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Woodturning with a Disability Part 2 of Wheelchair Woodworking series Part 3: Time to further move on »

I write this with a heavy heart.
I thought twice about sharing this, but then I realised that it is important to share the sad with the glad.

About ten years ago I was approached by the local Authority to see if I could take a young man with a Learning Disability.
I never promise that they can do woodwork until I have interviewed the person. When I have the interview all my other “Jolly Rogues” will be around at a distance appearing busy. We have a close knit wee team and it is important that we can all get on. This is at my Home after all.
When it is a learning disability I like to be sure of good hand to or eye coordination and attention span. You normally get all that in an assessment from an Occupational Therapistor other health care professional.
Not to say this would prevent the person from trying woodworking. We would just need to have 2-3 people present for safety.
I wander.
We agreed to take him on for a six week course.
That was ten years ago 2 days a week. During this period I’ve had a bypass a ruptured spleen, yet during these times he came to the hospital instead of the shop. I was in for 6 month.
When he came at first he had never caught a bus on his own and only with a carer. Within 3 months he was travelling on his own and last year he took his Mum to Spain. He did all the bookings on line.
This young man is now 38 and only now has he the confidence to go for a new job. His whole life he was told what he COULDN’T DO not what he COULD DO.
I’ll continue this.
Just that I know what I want to say I must think how to write it.
I’m new to Blog so please be patient.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

17 comments so far

View terrilynne's profile


836 posts in 2950 days

#1 posted 11-18-2010 01:27 AM

So your sad because he’s looking for another job and leaving you? You should be proud of him and yourself.

-- Terri, Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

View mafe's profile


11739 posts in 3146 days

#2 posted 11-18-2010 01:37 AM

Jamie, this made me remove a little tear of joy from my eye.
Thank you for beeing who you are,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2991 days

#3 posted 11-18-2010 01:45 AM


It is great that you participate in this program. I am pretty sure that this man became a friend as well. I am equally sure that he will drop by and say hello more often than you think.
It is great that he got to a point where he can get a job in this jungle.
Being a teacher for that long with the same student you kind of get a fatherly feeling.

I think you should be proud and happy. It is time to add another student.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 4081 days

#4 posted 11-18-2010 01:53 AM

Nothing sad about it. It’s always wonderful to see people go farther than they (or anybody else) thought they could. You have a rare gift for working with the disadvantaged – keep up the good work!

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2838 days

#5 posted 11-18-2010 01:54 AM

Jaimie.. What’s missing ? I know you’re troubled somehow here, but like the others have said, it sounds like
a positive, you’ve brought a young man along who needed guidance and help and YOU and your crew gave it and he’s moving on ? I’d hope this is actualy a happy thing, the man’s a man who’s been able to develop with
your help. You commented on my response to the wheelchair dificulties with everything built for the view is it’s also built for the right handed only..or those with two hands..If you’ve got the fellow to that stage, doing the work and booking on line from “you can’t” then I’m going to cheer .. I hope that’s where we’re at ?

(and did you figure out how to get the chair on the roof for the repairs ? :-) )

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2937 days

#6 posted 11-18-2010 02:26 AM

It takes a big heart to do what you do, helping those who are less fortunate.

Welcome ablog!

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3653 days

#7 posted 11-18-2010 03:04 AM

Your apprentice has become your teacher now

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3231 days

#8 posted 11-18-2010 04:05 AM

So many people have to wonder if … what they do with their lives … makes a difference.

You don’t have to ask yourself that question. You do.

It’s a blessing to be able to help those who—to some degree—society casts aside as “not being of much use.”

You should be proud of yourself for this.

Thanks for sharing :-)

-- -- Neil

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3879 days

#9 posted 11-18-2010 04:19 AM

Jamie, you should be proud of helping this young man become so self sufficient. You have helped him develop the self-confidence that will serve him well on his life’s journey. I am sure you are sad that he is looking for another position but, by doing so, he is maturing.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Schwieb's profile


1860 posts in 3518 days

#10 posted 11-18-2010 05:00 AM

Jamie, You have obviously been a very positive teacher for this young man and I simply have to admire you for what a difference you must have been for this individual. He’s like a child you have raised and now you must let him fly on his own, when when it seems others had given up on him and there was little chance of him doing that. What a great contribution to human kind you’ve made. I can sense your feeling of loss and it may be easy for me to say this, but you can feel very good about yourself to have guided him along life’s way and allow him the dignity of being self-supporting by teaching him a skill because you love it so.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3075 days

#11 posted 11-18-2010 05:31 AM

Jamie, Take all the time you need to think and get it down right. This man sounds like he turned into a terrific person and reading between the lines it seems you are sad cause something happened? You make me feel the same way, proud and sad. I’ll wait till you write more before letting my imagination run wild and end up with the wrong conclusion. Regards;

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View swirt's profile


2815 posts in 3029 days

#12 posted 11-18-2010 05:53 AM

A very moving story thus far. A story of two remarkable men.You and him. Makes me want to hear more of your doings with the “wee team”.

Like Bearpie I am afraid to read between the lines.

-- Galootish log blog,

View TJ65's profile


1378 posts in 3107 days

#13 posted 11-18-2010 06:13 AM

I am glad you shared this. I agree, this is a great outcome and a very uplifting story. For him to be able to be an independant and responsible person. What more could you ask for. You must be so very pleased that this is the outcome after all your time spent with him and knowing what he was like initially.
You must be a wonderfully patient and understanding person. Keep up the great work

-- Theresa,

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3172 days

#14 posted 11-18-2010 10:26 AM

like every parrent you very well know we have only borrowed our children and we very well knows
that the day will come to say goodbuy and wisch them all the best in life while we hope we have given
them the ballast to go thrugh life with out too many hurdles
bee proud and have in mind that children always return and visit the parrents before they know it :-)

have a great and safe day

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4218 days

#15 posted 11-18-2010 11:06 AM

first… your blog is beautiful and very well written.

Thank you for deciding to share your story with us. my heart aches as it waits for part II.
Regardless of the ending you will always be able to look back at “part I” and smile – being proud of what you have done and of what this young man was able to achieve in just 10 years. This progress, this sense of community, this helping of our fellow man – is what life is about.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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