From garbage to grandeur
Whiteway resident reuses, reduces, recycles
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.”
Richard Vokey of Whiteway spends his spare time making model toys from refuse gathered from the beach.