At 70 years old, he converted his experience working with U.S. Steel and carpentry into a passion project for his granddaughter, Emma.
A tenth of his age, 7-year-old Emma asked her grandfather to make her a birdhouse on one rainy April day in quarantine.
Harry went right to the garage and started working. Equipped with glue and a nail gun, he crafted something more like a "bird hotel," fit with a chimney and paneled roofing.
An eager Emma decided to ask her teacher and classmates if they, too, would like a hand-made birdhouse courtesy of her grandfather. Soon enough, Harry had a list of orders, yet never charged a dime.
Today, Harry believes he has made around 100 birdhouses, though downsized from the inaugural "bird hotel" his granddaughter requested. His daughters help to fund the wood supply to keep the birdhouses free of charge.
He especially likes receiving photographs of kids who have turned his blank wood crafts into colorful masterpieces. Parents and children alike appreciated the opportunity to engage in a family activity while stuck at home during this time.
One woman formed a special bond with her birdhouse. Denise Bruce unfortunately lost her mother to COVID-19 when it spread through a nursing home in late March. To this day, Denise's mother has not been laid to rest. Feeling like she had nothing to hold onto, Denise found purpose in Harry's blank birdhouse canvas.
She ornately decorated the birdhouse in black, white and red. Dotted with ladybugs and butterflies, the birdhouse sits outside her house as a token of her mother's vibrant life and huge heart.
Thus, "Birdman" has come a long way from his first DIY project. He hopes to continue crafting as long as he has time. As his granddaughter, Emma, grows older, he hopes she will remember to be a kind person.
"If you have something to give, then give it," he said.
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