The Michigan Woodworkers Guild, based in Royal Oak, won the 2011 Community Craftsman Award, presented by Minwax, for its numerous contributions to the Detroit Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
The guild’s members have built a doll-sized MRI scanner, which allows children to put their dolls through an MRI, promoting a better understanding of the process and alleviating their stress about undergoing their own procedure. They have constructed small wooden boxes to hold patients’ personal possessions during their hospitalization, and they’ve built memory boxes that the hospital uses to return the possessions of children who have lost their fight with illness or injury.
The members have also made the waiting room more friendly for kids 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 have also made a variety of large toys that are donated for fundraisers — rocking airplanes, elaborate rocking horses and pedal-powered airplanes.
Beyond the hospital, the members also work with a statewide group of instructors to promote woodworking among young people.
“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,” Sherwin-Williams Wood Care Products vice president of marketing Janet Krakow said in a statement.
Minwax also presented the Individual Recognition Award to Bill Rogers and Tom Polhamus of Garden Grove, Calif., for organizing volunteer groups that have built wooden toys for at-risk youth, resulting in the donation of 5,000 toys to local charities in 2011.
The runners-up for the Community Craftsman Award were the Kansas City Woodworkers’ Guild and The Woodworkers Club of El Paso, Texas.
This article originally appeared in the July 2012 issue.