- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - At a small desk in a Laramie basement, James Vasek, 6, is able to see beyond the seemingly useless pile of scrap wood sitting in front of him. James knows exactly why the wood is atop his desk. He put it there.

From the discarded wood, James creates airplane-like objects. He glues, tapes and paints his planes nearly all on his own. James made the planes to sell at Heart to Heart’s Walk for Life, an idea he hatched entirely himself.

Heart to Heart is a pregnancy resources clinic established in 1985. The organization offers services to Laramie residents free of charge through donations from the community and events such as a benefit walk.

“After I heard that the Heart to Heart was coming up, I thought I’d better start raising money,” James said. “I kept asking my dad if we could build a model plane and we ended up not able to, so I just thought I’d build my own that couldn’t fly.”

Roni Johnson, director of Heart to Heart, said James’ work took her by surprise.

“I was overwhelmed with how this little boy has so much in his heart to help others,” Johnson said. “It was unbelievable.”

James’ desk is home to a sprawl of materials, including paint, wood, paper towels, blue painter’s tape, two varieties of glue, pens, pencils and wheels. While he sits building planes, his sister, Addi, 4, and brother, Sam, 1, often organize Addi’s doll house.

The Vasek family basement is an imagination-fueled asylum of sorts, where a young mind creates ideas such as airplanes crafted from scrapped hardware, glue and good heartedness.

“I thought it was very neat,” James’ father Nate Vasek said. “This was his thing. We hadn’t even said anything. We told Roni about it and she asked him if they could have one down there.”

James donated his first Heart to Heart plane free of charge. He said price is dependent on the size of the plane.

While working on his second pre-ordered plane, James explained the process.

“This one would be $3, but I already have $20 for it,” he said. “We have $47 down so far. Sometimes I paint them first. It depends. This is the ninth one, I think.”

On the window behind James’ desk sits a gallery of his recent work. On the right hand side is a large plane painted red with a handwritten “Mom” emblazoned across the wings. A pink aircraft sits at the opposite end, which Addi claims as hers. James’ first plane, featuring a multi-colored, striped paint job, sits in the middle.

“I just kind of do whatever I’m feeling like,” said James. “We actually make the wheels. My dad helps.”

Though James works almost daily on his creations, each plane takes about two days to finish.

The process is not labor intensive, but James must play the waiting game with his glue.

“The first one took me two days,” Vasek said. “Some of them take me one and some of them take me two. This one, today, will take me one.”

Gluing his homemade wheels to the airplane body is James’ final step, but not without help from his father.

“He doesn’t allow me to glue it by myself,” James said.

“Yeah, that’s because I know what happens with Gorilla Glue,” his father said.

“You’ve done it,” James said. “That’s what the paper towel is here for.”


Information from: Laramie Boomerang, https://www.laramieboomerang.com

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