When retired Verdis Bertram moved here a few years ago, his equipment and talent for scroll sawing came right along. Soon, he was adding to his beautiful wooden treasures, including something for that new fire station. And there’s so much more to the story.
“I’ve probably been doing this for twenty five, thirty years," said Bertram of his hobby.
By chance, he discovered a new passion and talent—but from a neighbor?
“He was doing it and I thought it was interesting. So, I started doing it. And we were swapping patterns.”
Equipment, ideas, blueprints—how does it come together?
“I started out making clocks. And I kind of got burned out on that and that’s when I started building toys.”
How much time does a project take?
“Maybe a month, month and a half.”
Before fire stations, he spearheaded an idea for toys around the world that turned into a project for the Kiwanis club.
"They take them (the toys) to the pediatric hospitals," explained Bertram, also saying that the toys go out to four or five foreign countries.
Then came an idea for some firefighters.
“I took the ladder truck down to one of the stations, asked them if they would like to have it for their museum. I thought that they were going to have a museum when they built the new station.”
We asked Firefighter Brandi Manuppella what was the reaction to his offer for their new station?
“Of course, we said ‘that would be awesome.’ We’ve never had anything like this given to us before. There’s a lot of talent that goes into this. And a lot of the guys, we’ve looked at these and tried to figure out how in the world he put this all together. So, it takes a lot of imagination, we’ve decided—and talent," said Manuppella.
First came the big one and then another idea—
"In the meantime, I built another one which is an antique 1933 Seagraves," said Betram. But he built this one in only one day.
Brandi says they’ve been a big hit and so appreciated.
“This means a lot to us because it shows that there are people out there that appreciate us even though we don’t hear it on a regular basis," explained Manuppella.
His sense of humor showed, when asked why decided to make a golf cart replica for my golfer husband. With tongue in cheek he said:
“I thought he played golf!"
Thanks to Verdis for using his extraordinary talent to thank a group that we should all thank more often.