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Veterans explain works of art to Cub Scouts

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    Mike Bridge, director of operations for Life Care Inc. and an Air Force veteran, showed cub scouts how he constructs ship models during an event at Creative Space Avon Monday night.


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    Sandi Valois, Air Force veteran, helps Gavin Blythe, 11, cut glass during a demonstration at Creative Space Avon Monday night.


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    Air Force veteran Don Case shows scouts a toy motorcycle he carved out of wood.



AVON — Local Air Force veterans — now artists — spent Monday evening showing Cub Scouts their craft at Creative Space.

Hosted by gallery owner Judy Kean, Scouts from Pack 303 circled the demo space in the center of the gallery, watching Mike Bridge, Sandi Valois and Don Case talk about their work.

The pack was there to earn a merit badge, Cub Master Stephanie Ortiz said.

“One of their elective adventure pins is called ‘Art Explosion’ and one of the requirements to earn that pin is to visit an art gallery,” Ortiz said. “They’re supposed to take away the different ways that art can be expressed, whether through painting, glass or pencil, and then it will be a really cool experience that they get to talk to the artist themselves and get more of a personal approach of what their art means.”

Mike Bridge served from 1986 to 1995, reaching the rank of staff sergeant. He is now director of operations for LifeCare Ambulance Inc. Bridge talked about his model ships, which he has been building since the 1970s, he said, and now focuses on World War II vessels. He is self-taught and said he strives for realism in his work.

“I just started building ships when I was a kid,” he said. “In the service (the kits) were cheap overseas.”

Bridge hand-paints each ship, going so far as to dab in rust and wear on the hull.

Sandi Valois is a glass artist, specializing in geometric stained glass works. She showed troop members how to cut glass, letting them try their hand on scrap pieces under a watchful eye. Valois served from 1980 to 1988, reaching the rank of tech sergeant. She later worked for the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigrations and Customs Enforcement as a senior special agent.

After taking a class in 2000 and finding she was a natural working with glass, she took up the hobby as a way to relieve stress after work.

“These were the first patriotic works I’d done,” she said, of the ones featured in Creative Space’s current show.

Don Case, who served from 1966 to 1970 and reached the rank of sergeant, talked to the scouts about his woodworking. He showed two birdhouses that won first place at the Lorain County Fair, and two wooden toys — a motorcycle and an oil rig. Case said his pieces are made of different types of wood and glued together.

“It’s something to keep me busy in the winter,” he said. He began woodworking after retiring about 10 years ago, and is self-taught through “a lot of trial and error.”

The veterans’ show at Creative Space will hold a closing reception 7 p.m. Thursday, with a portion of the sales benefiting Valor Home in Lorain. The show features 45 works from 16 artists. Visit for more information.

Contact Carissa Woytach at 329-7245 or
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