UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. - Minwax®, the leading manufacturer of wood finishing and wood care products, has selected the Michigan Woodworkers' Guild of Royal Oak, Michigan, as the grand prize winner in the 2011 Community Craftsman Award Program. The award is being presented to honor the guild's numerous contributions, over the course of 15 years, to the Detroit Medical Center - Children's Hospital of Michigan. The guild members have used their woodworking skills and generously donated time to complete countless projects for the hospital and its patients.

The Minwax® Community Craftsman Award is a national program that recognizes individuals and groups that promote community improvement through working with wood, and awards them financial grants and products to encourage continued community service. As the 2011 Community Craftsman Award grand prize winner, the Michigan Woodworkers' Guild receives a $5,000 cash grant, a supply of Minwax® products, and a private wood finishing workshop with renowned do-it-yourself expert and author Bruce Johnson.

Michigan Woodworkers' Guild members have built a doll-sized MRI machine, which allows children to put their dolls through the MRI process, promoting a better understanding of the process and alleviating their stress about undergoing their own procedure. They construct small wooden boxes to hold patients' personal possessions during their hospitalization, and they build "memory boxes" that the hospital uses to return the possessions of children who have lost their fight with illness or injury. Another special project done by members was to make the waiting room more kid-friendly by creating 25 circus-themed picture frames that hold a variety of children's art class pictures, plus a magazine and book rack that is easily accessible to children of every size. Every year, guild members build and donate hundreds of wooden toys to ensure that all children hospitalized or enduring outpatient care over the holidays gets a toy to keep. And members also build a variety of large toys that are donated for fundraisers – rocking airplanes, elaborate rocking horses, and pedal-powered airplanes.

Beyond the hospital, the members of the guild also work with a statewide group of woodworking instructors to promote woodworking among young people. By sharing the joy and benefits of working with wood, the guild is passing on their passion and skills while making wood finishing relevant to a whole new generation of woodworkers.

"We are proud to recognize the volunteer members of the Michigan Woodworkers' Guild for their outstanding community service and impressive body of work in support of the children of DMC Children's Hospital," notes Janet Krakow, vice president, marketing, Sherwin-Williams Wood Care Products. "No matter what the project was, whatever the children's hospital needed, the guild members were there; their selfless contributions to the hospital and their community reflect the true spirit of the Minwax® Community Craftsman Award. Their story also serves as inspiration to others and illustrates how working with wood – a gratifying activity in itself – is all the more fulfilling when done for the good of others."

Individual Recognition Award

The 2011 Individual Recognition Award, including a $2,000 cash grant and a supply of Minwax® products, was awarded to a team of two friends and World War II veterans – Bill Rogers and Tom Polhamus of Garden Grove, CA – who were nominated by a fellow woodworker. Together, these men have organized volunteer groups for building wooden toys for at-risk youth, resulting in the donation of 5,000 toys to local charities in 2011. With this award, Minwax® is proud to recognize these two gentlemen's countless hours spent constructing safe, durable, wooden toys for the children in the community. For this, we at Minwax® applaud them and their enduring dedication to improving their community – one toy at a time! The award posthumously recognizes Tom, who passed away just a few months ago.

Runner-Up Award Recipients

Two organizations were named Community Craftsman Award runners-up for outstanding community service – the Kansas City Woodworkers' Guild of Kansas City, MO, and The Woodworkers Club of El Paso, Texas, Inc. Each will receive a generous assortment of Minwax® products for use in future projects. The Kansas City Woodworkers' Guild, in the aftermath of the destruction by tornado of much of Joplin, MO, designed and built 24 portable bookshelves for kids in Joplin after two elementary schools were destroyed. They designed shelves that when closed, looked like books, especially after artists from Hallmark Cards painted them to look like children's story books.

The Woodworkers Club of El Paso, an area where many of the residents live below the poverty line, have established their "Quality of Life Program," where area residents are able to join the organization for $5 per month. In turn, they have access to a fully-equipped woodworking shop, staffed by guild shop monitors who give hands-on assistance and guidance. This provides residents the opportunity to build much of their own furniture and gives the retired and more senior members a hobby.

Source: The Minwax Company

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.