Custer County students put woodshop skills to work for charity

With the holiday season in full swing generosity is evident everywhere. Five local students, with the help of their teacher, showed their own generous ways through a unique wood shop project this year.

Custer County District High School shop teacher Cody Kelly has been donating items to be auctioned off at Erin’s Crystal Ball for the past four years. The ball is a fundraiser for the Erin’s Hope Project, which pays for trips for children with life-threatening diseases. This year Kelly enlisted the help of his students to make the project.

Five of Kelly’s students were assigned to make a child-sized table with four stools. The table and stools will be auctioned off at the Erin’s Crystal Ball on Jan. 7 at the Miles Community College Centra. 

According to Kelly, a class requirement is to make a Lazy Susan cupboard. But he often has younger siblings of former students in class, and he understands that a household doesn’t need multiple Lazy Susans. 

Out of that class requirement the idea for the brightly colored table and stools to support the Erin’s Hope Project was born.

The table and all four stools have a ball bearing like a Lazy Susan that enables them to spin. Along with the Lazy Susan bearings the table also has a chalkboard top. 

Two of the students who worked on the project were Jesse Roberts and Hope Dittus. 

According to both Roberts and Dittus, it took the group one-to-two weeks of school days to complete the entire project. 

“I enjoyed making something to donate for a good cause,” Roberts said.

As far as Roberts and Dittus know no one involved with the Erin’s Hope Project has seen the table and stools yet. 

“I think they’ll like it,” said Dittus, who knew Erin growing up. “My grandma babysat her and my mom is really good friends with her mom.”

Kelly, the shop teacher, has a soft spot for the Erin’s Hope Project.

“I became a father. I get it. If I can do something to help kids out I’ll do it,” said Kelly. 

The other students who worked on the project are Joe Murnion, Adrian Anderson and Spencer Hardy.

Erin’s Hope Project is a non-profit organization that was formed in March 2011 in honor of Erin Hurr of Miles City, who passed away in 2010 after a two-year battle with cancer. Erin’s Hope Project strives to provide hope for other children with life threatening illnesses.

Through different fundraisers the organization is able to help children around the state go on a memorable adventure. Some of the most recent ones consisted of a trip to Hawaii, the opportunity to go hunting, and being able to spend time with family in South Dakota. 

For more information visit erinshopeproject.org.