Thursday, May 8, 2014

Maintenance Volunteers in the Gulf Coast are inventors

By Bill Wagner, Maintenance Supervisor, Northwest District, Everglades National Park

Linda and Lee Abrahamzon are full time RV’ers who have been traveling around the country volunteering at various federal, state and local parks.
We were fortunate enough to sponsor them this winter.  Linda and Lee hit the ground running. They are great organizers. They have organized the whole maintenance shop including our numerous plumbing and hardware bins. They inventoried all of the tools and labeled the proper locations for the tool storage.  During the process I was asked several times to look over ‘remnants’ after their organizing forays.  Needless to say, we got rid of a lot of residual junk!
The team then started organizing my file cabinets.  Linda took the lead in inventorying our many blueprints rolled up or folded up haphazardly in one of the cabinets.  Lee spear headed the fabrication of a blueprint storage case.  Providing me with a list of materials for print cases and wood for the case, I made haste to get it purchased. The result was a furniture grade case with room for expansion and a easy to follow inventory sheet. 
There was no job too great or small or distasteful for this great team.  They both jumped at the chance to supplement us on the ‘poop’ barge in the back country on several occasions. 
Lee is especially good at coming up with solutions for the many nit-noid problems that plague us annually and that we just can’t seem to get to.  He and Linda completely rebuilt two dump carts purchased for visitor use in 2004. The support carriages for these two carts were severely corroded making them a hazard to the visitor. Lee rebuilt both carts using schedule 80 PVC.  He also replaced rusted bearings on the cartwheel shafts.  The ‘new’ units should now be able to serve the visitors for years to come.  Lee and Linda also replaced bearings in four canoe carts which were out of service.
I presented a rough sketch to Lee and asked him to come up with a safe way to dispense material from a 13 foot long roll of non-woven material used to wrap 16 foot long 4X4’s.  The roll weighs in excess of 300 pounds from the factory.    Prior to this project, the roll was on the ground and rolled over to cut 3 foot wide strips from it to wrap pilings.  The whole process was being done stooping over and working on the ground.  Using non-usable warped treated 4X4’s, Lee put together a roll spindle which not only allows safe removal of the product, but it is adjustable to the diameter of the roll as material is removed from it. 
During Linda and Lee’s last week of volunteering, they worked on a couple of other projects such as installing new personnel lockers, building a sink side cabinet from left over wood, and a much needed shoeshine box for the shop.
Linda, Lee, we’re going to miss you!

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