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Local welcome center vendor turned his hobby into a business

Lead Summary

Age is just a number to some like Welcome Center Vendor Garylee Thurm so after retiring from John Deere he turned his hobby turned into a business.Thurm makes handcrafted wooden products, speciality items and jigs for the Gateway to Northeast Iowa Welcome Center. Detailed wooden birds, stars and crosses are just a few items people can find in the gift shop. Anyone can order items with their names or dates on these wooden creations.Once a week he will get emails about new patterns for his wooden items. “I am always looking for new patterns,” said Thurm. He gets patterns in magazines for new ideas.This Readlyn native got serious about woodworking in the 1980s and bought his first good saw. Thurm was at the Amana Colonies watching a contest and he was immediately interested.  From there he started making his items and has enjoyed all the time spent on his projects.“The challenge of it and I won’t even do it if it’s too easy,” said Thurm is his favorite part of his woodworking.“Garylee makes just beautiful, intricate woodwork,” said Welcome Center Director Jen Hauser. “He makes these crosses with names and dates on them for confirmation, baptisms, births and they are a big hit. We even get people from out of state order and come back through months later to pick it up. We are very happy to have Garylee's items displayed at the Center.”One unique thing about Thurm is he likes to help people with his woodworking. He has helped a Veteran by making over 450 Eagle patriotic symbols with his scroll saw. Thurm will saw these out and then gives them to the Veteran to paint and hand out to other Veterans in the area. It is a great project and just a little thank you for the Veterans who have served.In Thurm’s spare time his spends time with his wife Bonnie, two children, six grandchildren and now one great-grandchild.  He also loves to hunt, shoot, fly fish and make his own jigs.To take a look at Thurm’s wooden creations go to the Gateway to Northeast Iowa Welcome Center to special order a unique piece to be cherished for years to come.

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