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Construction combine gives students hands-on experience with the trade and helps local vets

AMMON, Idaho (KIFI) - Bonneville School District #93 students participated in a construction combine Wednesday earning hands-on experience as they build sheds for our community veterans. The event was sponsored by the Home Depot Foundation and many local contractors who served as the teachers for the students.

Students who were participating said not only were they learning a lot but having fun doing it.

"I thought it was going to be a small project with just like kids from tech. But I know when I found out more about it, I thought, it's going to be really fun," Tayson Leech said.

"I think it's pretty fun. I like learning about the trade, so  I like it," Bradley Anderson said.

"I am learning how to build, like, layout the flooring for a shed, and its doing pretty good," Kayleen Bundy said.

Technical school principal Lyndon Oswald says he hopes the students are able to take away quite a lot from the event, maybe even a future career.

"I think for the kids, the most important thing is they're being offered jobs today. They're actually offering jobs. And then we have a huge military presence here. And they've they're tremendous in what they do to help us," Oswald said.

Oswald said the students are also grateful to show thanks to community veterans by building sheds for them.

The students agreed with their principal's statement.

"It's pretty cool. I mean, it's nice that we're building stuff for people," Leech said.

"I'm helping them and they may have something like store their stuff in or whatever they use it for," Bundy said.

"I like doing work for a cause, you know, get to know that it's going to be something good," Austin Stone said.

"I want to help them in any way I can," Anderson said.

"They help fight for our country and I mean I would love to help them out. They did a lot for me in my future, so I would like to help them out because they helped me," Darius Bingham said.

Parker Wightman, the store manager of the Idaho Falls Home Depot, said it's inspiring to see the kids enjoying the trades and diving in.

"I think it creates one ownership and two, allows these kids to possibly tap into what their career is going to look like. I know talking to some of the contractors already, they've really got some of these kids signed up to be a part of their team, and if you think of that as a high school student, as a senior," Wightman said.

He said back in 2011 Home Depot pledged to donate half a billion dollars to the trades. Since then nearly half a million dollars has been invested and 50 million will be invested by 2025. Home Depot is also investing heavily in the support of veterans as well.

Wightman said helping the veterans is amazing and doing it at the combine is an open door for many of the students.

Annie Harrison-Quinton is part of the team that created the Construction Combine four years ago. She says the whole thing started as a desire to unite contractors and kids together.

"It's worth it to see these kids and to see them learn a trade. These contractors are wonderful. They give up their time and give up their time for free. And obviously, they want to make a difference. Many people have gotten jobs out of this, and that's our main goal. And then the veterans, that's the best," Harrison-Quinton said.

The construction combine has impacted more than just the state of Idaho Harrison-Quinton said.

"We plan to impact the world. We have at Idaho State University, someone from Cameroon named Martin, and my husband took him under his wing and taught him how to build. Now he wants to go back to his country and rebuild his village."

However, the combine wouldn't be possible without the help of the Nationa Guard, the Home Depot Foundation, and the community.

"The community involvement is the most important when we have people from the community that involved themselves and give, we can make this thing huge. My husband, Steven Quinton, I have to give him perks because he from the very beginning, he was a contractor for 50 years. I brought him out of retirement and he designed each one of these sheds and he works tirelessly the day before pre-build and working on plan C, he wants to make them perfect for the veterans," she said.

Harrison-Quinton said people can reach out to her if they want to bring the combine to their school.

"Like in Pocatello, I go to all the rural schools and I start like in January and we're going to have it March or April. And I go and I talk to them and they sign up. Then they come down."

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8.


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