Woodworker gives back to community
By Angelica Ingram
June 21, 2016
A few years ago Richard Hammond was in a local grocery store when he was asked if he would like to donate to Food for Kids.
A retired cottager who lives full time on Kennisis Lake, Hammond wanted to do more than just write a one-time cheque.
So he began selling his wood creations and donating all the proceeds to Food for Kids.
Ranging from bird houses to cutting boards to furniture and signs, the creations are meticulously crafted and beautifully finished, which is impressive considering Hammond is almost blind.
Originally from East York, Hammond has been frequenting the area since he was young, now living year round at the lakefront property he purchased 40 years ago.
Hammond, who is almost 79, spends his spare time giving back to the community through various initiatives including participating in the Kennisis Lake Cottage Owners’ Association’s Art on the Dock and hosting a yearly neighbourhood barbecue for Food for Kids in July.
Aside from collecting donations for Food for Kids at the barbecue, he also uses the event as an opportunity to sell his items.
For the past five years, the money from everything Hammond sold has gone directly to Food for Kids, which provides a healthy snack program at area schools.
It was the nutritious aspect of the charity that impressed Hammond.
To date he has donated about $5,000 to Food for Kids through his creations.
He has been working with wood for a long time, now taking orders from friends and neighbours for planter boxes, shelves and more.
A widower, Hammond retired from a career in construction and also owned at one time the Wexford Raiders, a junior hockey team that used to exist in Toronto.
“I only got involved because my kid brother needed an assistant coach,” he jokes.
He stayed involved for 47 years, until the team was eventually sold.
His construction career spanned multiple decades and involved drafting, estimating, sales and project management.
He began losing his eyesight before he retired, with it gradually getting worse over time.
Now Hammond lives with one per cent of sight in his right eye and 15 per cent in his left, his vision deteriorating due to a riffling of the main optic nerve.
“They just don’t know what happened, could have been over straining because I was still working,” he said.
Hammond has become an avid supporter of the CNIB as a result of his vision loss.
Food for Kids co-ordinator Aaron Walker is appreciative of Hammond’s work and contributions to the organization.
“Richard (Uncle Dick) has been a huge supporter of Food for Kids for many years, he does so diligently and without much fanfare so it is amazing that he is receiving some well earned recognition for his contribution and dedication to the children or Haliburton County,” said Walker. “By overcoming his vision challenges and striving forward to help the youth of our community, he is truly one of the many people that make this county a great place to live.”