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Kids helping out kids

Monday, April 07, 2014   by: Kate Adams

West Ferris Design, Construction, Transportation and Manufacturing Program students Jacob Levesque, Kodi Ibey, Nathan Oehlrich, Connor Burke, Lucas Trach, Brady Wilson and Myles Danners deliver the completed 'NeilMobile' to Neil Melnyk Friday.

The old saying goes ‘there is no greater reward for a job well done than the personal satisfaction of having done it’, however West Ferris Students in Stewart Bowness and Alan Jewell’s classes found out on Friday that notion is trumped when the job you do is altruistic.

The students set out to design and fabricate a snowmobile sleigh the ‘NeilMobile’ for young Neil Melnyk who loves to be out on the ice with this family but is unable to do his disabilities.

The sleigh was designed and built from scratch by the West Ferris Technical Department will accommodate Neil, his wheelchair, fishing gear and allows for room to grow.

The Design, Construction, Transportation and Manufacturing Programs all played an integral role in getting this project on to its skis.

“It was truly a group effort for a worthy cause.  It is nice to be able to offer the students an authentic manufacturing challenge for a real life situation,” says Al Jewell, Transportation teacher.

“The students bit right into this project and it turned out amazingly well.”

Clearly happy with the end result, dad Ron Melnyk says the sleigh gives his family freedom and the opportunity to spend more time together enjoying what they love to do explore the great outdoors.

“Without something like this it is very difficult to get Neil around and have him safe and have him warm enough and that in the wintertime,” explains Melnyk.

“So it’s definitely going to be a huge difference, a huge thing we will be able to use every weekend all winter.”

Student Jacob Levesque says the story behind the sleigh changed the project from a regular assignment to a labour of love.

“To me it was to make a kid happy so I was very glad to get into it and help out.”

Fellow student Myles Danvers says not only did the project take on a different feel knowing who was benefiting, but also helped him discover his love for welding.

“It wasn’t just a class project anymore it just meant a lot more to me.”

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