From garbage to grandeur

White­way res­i­dent reuses, re­duces, re­cy­cles

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH - BYBURTON K. JANES

Richard Vokey be­lieves he can play a small role in help­ing to re­use, re­duce and re­cy­cle.

The 59-year-old Spa­niard’s Bay na­tive and his wife Jeanette live in White­way. They are res­i­dents of Shag Rock Manor, a se­niors’ fa­cil­ity with an ocean view.

Some years ago, Jeanette was par­a­lyzed in an ac­ci­dent.

“She’s do­ing very good, but she can’t walk any­more,” Richard says.

Richard spends most of his time car­ing for his wife, who is con­fined to a wheel­chair. He reg­u­larly pushes her up and down the main street of the Trin­ity Bay town. They breathe in the re­fresh­ing air and ab­sorb the sights and sounds around them.

Mean­while, Richard him­self isn’t in the best of health.

“I got asthma and lung prob­lems. I’m a di­a­betic and have prob­lems with my heart,” he says.

He ad­mits he hasn’t done much stren­u­ous work in his life. “I just do light stuff,” he says. Now he has some spare time on his hands, but he doesn’t want it to go to waste.

Re­cently, he be­gan a per­sonal hobby of re­claim­ing from the beach var­i­ous ob­jects that were dis­carded over the years. He then turns them into minia­ture model toys. Drift­wood and colour­ful fish tubs es­pe­cially pique his in­ter­est.

The tools he uses — ham­mer, chisel, vice grips and hand­saw — are ba­sic and func­tional.

He sits on a con­crete plat­form by the side of the road and forms the refuse into the shapes and sizes he needs. “It’s go­ing to look all right,” he jokes. Back in the manor base­ment, he builds model ko­matiks, in im­i­ta­tion of the sleds Inuit tra­di­tion­ally made by bind­ing cross­bars to wooden run­ners with rawhide. He ap­plies red and grey paint for con­trast.

“I saw it on tele­vi­sion,” Richard says. “I watch a lot of wildlife (pro­grams), and when I saw that, I got right ex­cited. So I had to go and try it.”

He doesn’t con­fine his cre­ativ­ity to model ko­matiks. He also makes box-carts that are at­tached to toy horses. He’s fid­dled with model cars, drays and air­planes, as well.

He has no in­ten­tion of giv­ing up his hobby any time soon.

Though he knows he won’t live long enough to use up all the raw ma­te­rial on the beach, he states, “I’m go­ing to stay at it.”

Photo by Bur­ton K. Janes/the Com­pass

Richard Vokey of White­way spends his spare time mak­ing model toys from refuse gath­ered from the beach.

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