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Veterans to Receive Crosses Made By Northern Lights Students

When Martin Hassan found out the Northern Lights Mobile Trades Lab would be in Bonnyville this Fall, he was excited about having the opportunity to further hone his welding skills.

“It’s great experience to have, especially with the certificate you receive at the end,” he explained.

Two years ago, he was introduced to welding, and the lab, when it was at Ardmore School. Now a student at Bonnyville Outreach, Hassan was excited to try new things in the lab, which was located at H.E. Bourgoin Middle School from September to

November this year. He decided his final project would be creating crosses for his parents that they could hang on necklaces.

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Impressed by the finished product, instructor George Berland encouraged Martin to show his work to the office staff at the school. He quickly received an order for four more crosses. His creations also caught the attention of a representative from Donna Gamblin, Service Officer at the Bonnyville Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, who was at the school for a Remembrance Day ceremony.

“I saw the crosses and I thought it was the most fantastic idea for Christmas for the veterans,” she said. “It’s the perfect thing to give back to them and their families.”

She asked Martin to make 30 more crosses that she could give to veterans at a Christmas dinner she was hosting on December 5. In exchange, she offered to donate $1,000 to the Trades in Motion Mobile Trades Lab program.

“I was kind of surprised,” said Martin, who was more than willing to use his talents to make crosses for the veterans. “It’s a good thing I have help.”

That help consisted of several classmates and his teacher, Steven Ripkens, who spent a morning in the lab creating the crosses. Martin started by cutting out 60 crosses with a plasma cutter (each finished cross consists of two crosses welded together). Then they had to grind all of the crosses before welding them, making them nice and shiny, and putting a clear coat on them. As a finishing touch, Northern Treasures added Lest We Forget to each cross.

“It is amazing to see how the effect Trades in Motion program has had on our students expanded beyond our original vision of providing hands-on learning opportunities in the trades,” said Board Chair Mandi Skogen. “Our students have the opportunity to use the skills they learn to express their creativity and this has led to some wonderful collaborations between our schools and our communities, in addition to some fantastic artwork.”

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