Weekdays with Paul
A tribute to the ex-president
The day was August 23rd, 2017. I went to the sawdust session at Barbara’s house. As I got out of my car I saw Barbara and Paul Rygaard sitting at the porch chatting. I had met Paul only a few times before since I was new to the club. We all walked in to her living room to start the sawdust session. There were only 4 or 5 of us that day and we had plenty of time to chit chat that evening. It is during that time when Paul asked me the question. “Hari, would you be able to spare a couple of hours each week to help with the pen turning class at the school?”. Little did I know then that those couple of hours a week would turn into spending all weekdays with Paul at the school.
During the past year I have come to know Paul very well. My initial thought was Paul is just another member of the club who happens to be the president who also does some volunteer work at the school. But I soon realized that Paul is a man with a mission. Paul is a man with a plan. As each day passed my admiration for him kept growing.
Many of us have witnessed the transformation of the school woodshop over the past year. At the beginning of 2018 the woodshop was a crowded place where the kids did not have much room to maneuver while doing their projects. But things were brewing in Paul’s head. He had it all figured out. One day while we were moving a table from the shipping container in the corner of the school campus he confessed “Hari, I am working on my dream shop that I always wanted” to which I responded “Paul, you are putting so much effort into this shop that we should name it “the Paul Rygaard Dream Shop”. All this transformation did not happen overnight willy-nilly. Paul has many “to do” lists at various stages he keeps and shares with us to track all the changes that are planned. One thing that impressed me the most is Paul’s ability to do almost anything and everything with high efficiency. Whether it be climbing all the way to the rafters to redo all the duct work for the dust collection, rewiring the circuits to add 240v line for the table saw, or opening the power tools to fix them he does it all. He is a master of all trades. Not everything is rosy though. Paul does forget where he keeps his coffee mug occasionally. Only once did I ever see Paul panic. That was when he lost a ball. Ball bearing that is. While installing the new cutter head for the power planer one of the ball bearings decided to escape. For the next hour Paul ran around the shop (like a chicken with its head cut off) in a panic mode looking for the ball. The sight was not pretty. But at the end he managed to find a replacement ball bearing and got it all working perfectly.
Of all the things Paul does the most striking thing is the synergy he has created with the school administration. Paul has raised the visibility and name of our club within the school administration. It has helped SVW tremendously. We now have a state-of-the-art club house in the school to conduct our meetings and demos. Such a setup other clubs can only dream about. Paul also does a lot of work helping the school administration and shop teacher in planning the budget, helping the kids with their locker assignments, and putting together a new curriculum to teach the kids how to use the CNC machine. The list goes on and on.
It was Paul’s dream to have a dream workshop. The school now has a dream woodshop and the kids are enjoying every minute of their time in the shop. And SVW has the dream club house thanks to Paul’s dream. Please join me in giving Paul a round of applause and a big thank you for his service to the club as well as to the community.