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EUGENE, Ore. – Woodworking has been a part of Oregon Community Credit Union Board Director Don Thomas’ life since grade school. “My first project at school was a shoe shine box and I’ve been hooked ever since,” said Thomas. “I’ve always done a little woodworking, but after I retired I made a few rocking horses for my granddaughters and friends and it’s grown from there.” For the past few years Thomas has found a way to combine his woodcarving talents with his love of volunteering by creating wooden rocking animals. In his workshop garage you’ll find everything from a traditional rocking horse to the more fantastical rocking camel, bull, goat or pig. Thomas says he never knows when inspiration will strike. “I do whatever feels good,” said Thomas. “When I was making a piece for the Oregon Credit Union Association Children’s Miracle Network auction I thought about the CU CAMEL ratings, so I decided to make a rocking camel. For the Diabetes Charity auction since insulin comes from pigs, I thought a pig rocker would be a great idea. It really depends on what happens to come along.” Just don’t look for any of Thomas’ handmade wooden animals in stores – he donates them all to charities. Just six of his rocking animals brought in an amazing $8,400 at the Credit Union for Kids auction, and his animals can be seen at CMN hospitals throughout the area. “If I ever figured out how long it takes to make just one piece or if I sold it then it wouldn’t be as much fun and it would end up being work,” joked Thomas. “Besides this way they serve a good purpose, the animals make a hospital stay a little easier for a child, and the letters of thanks from the kids that ride the animals is the best payback for doing something so enjoyable.” [email protected]

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