Three years, 40 students, and roughly 800 cumulative hours of work.
The ingredients for a brand new addition to the Redmond Fire Department’s break room.
On Thursday, a dining table built by students from the Redmond High School construction technology class was finally delivered to the station.
“A lot of people have been contributing and putting their touch on it,” said junior Evan Otten.
“I’m just very proud of how it looks right now,” said sophomore Garrett Hagen.
Before the pandemic, the fire department reached out to construction technology teacher Thomas Alan Wheeler to ask about the possibility of a table.
“Mark Winger was the original construction technology teacher who started building fire tables and fire signs for local fire departments,” Wheeler said. “So I’m just carrying on his tradition.”
Captain Josh Clark from Redmond Fire & Rescue said the need for a table arose after they increased staffing at their main station.
“We outgrew our dining room table,” he said. “Anyone who’s been around the fire service knows that our kitchen table is iconic. We spend a lot of time solving a lot of problems around that table.”
The students began work on the table in 2019, but the pandemic meant the unfinished pieces sat untouched in the workshop for a year and a half.
“I’ve been working on this for three years,” Hagen said. “Before COVID, and during COVID, and after COVID. So it’s been a lot of work.”
The students helped transport the three separate pieces of the table into Wheeler’s truck on Thursday, and he then drove it to the station.
Members of the crew carried the maple and mahogany table, with the fire department’s emblem carved into the center, upstairs into their dining area.
“Our crews are very excited to see it,” Clark said. “They’ve heard a lot about it over the last three years…I actually graduated from Redmond High School a few years ago, and having them do the project for our hometown fire department was pretty special for us.”
Wheeler said a big part of the class is teaching the students to give back to their communities, and building things that will leave a legacy.
“We need to take care of each other, and that’s really important, the fact that we’re taking care of firefighters who take care of us,” he said. “That’s a big part of what we do as a community.”
He hopes the students walk away not only with better construction skills, but with a knowledge of the value of teamwork.
“The kids will tell me, ‘well, I didn’t do much, I just did a bit of sanding’, and I’ll say that’s enough, you helped,” Wheeler added. “If you help other people, you’ll see good things and good things will come back to you.”
Otten said seeing the individual parts come together was amazing.
“You knew what you were trying to build, but now seeing it done is just like, kind of cool to see the vision complete,” he said.
Hagen feels proud of the contribution to his father’s workplace.
“My dad’s a captain at the fire department, and whenever he goes to work I hope he looks at the table and goes yeah, my son built that,” he said.
Clark expressed his gratitude to the entire team who helped build the table and persevered through the roadblocks to get it done.
“This table is very well-built and very sturdy, and it will be here long past my career’s end, so Redmond Fire and Rescue will benefit from this table for many, many years to come,” he said.