Warming The Benches

“Hitch your wagon to a star.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

This week, I warmed the benches.

Every good manager knows that it takes an entire roster to make a team and even the last player called off the bench plays a role.


Last Sunday, I wrote about Phase 1 of the Whitford Middle School Green Club’s project to spruce up the courtyard. My primary role in Phase 2 was to make some improvements to the benches and the lousy water drainage system. The benches have been there for many, many years and several needed repairs. It was also determined that we needed to add a few more benches to help create a small outdoor classroom.

On Monday, I started calling around to hardware stores and lumber yards trying to find the proper bench making materials. The more I described the project, the more it became clear that the benches we needed to build were going to have to be custom built, as well as inset into the existing concrete slab. That far exceeded my skills as a carpenter.

Fortunately, there were a couple of stars on my team, Alex and Reed.

Alex and Reed. Stars.

Reed owns a landscaping business, Autumn Accents, and has been doing high-quality work for about 10 years in the Portland area. If you’ve got landscaping needs in the Portland, Oregon area, give Reed a call.

Alex, is my co-worker, and has more building skill in his little finger than I have in my whole body. In fact, Alex is so talented that he’s building his own massive house expansion.

Together, we made it work. Over the week, there were metal shop trips, multiple lumber lard trips, jack hammer rental, design, etc. Reed and I worked on plans for the drain improvements over the phone. Alex and I built benches until midnight on Friday.

Today, under a hot Oregon sun at 8:20am, the three of us met at the school to get started. Officially the start time was 8, but yours truly was a little late. Donuts work well as an apology.

We waded our way through the sea of blue shirts worn by the Whitford Middle school marching band on the way to a competition. The sea parted easily for us. After all, jackhammers are interesting. As an aside, I’m glad the kids were there this morning. After all, we were building for them.


Fast forward most of a day. The details of cutting concrete and building wood is lost to history, but in the end there are several new benches dotting the Whitford courtyard and an extra drain.  As Alex and I talked, we hope that the students and teachers warm up to the new benches.

In fact, I hope that these benches stay warm for a very long time.

Today’s and this week’s gift of time … Built benches for the Whitford students, today and tomorrow.

About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
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