The Sheet Metal Man – The American Worker Installment #4

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For my 4th addition to The American Worker Project I decided to include a local icon in my home town of Belgrade Lakes Maine.    His name is John Gawler and he is another person that no matter when you see him,  he always greets you with a warm smile.    He is one of these guys who you’d be hard pressed to find someone who had something negative to say about him…  a genuinely good person.  

For most of his life John has made his living working in sheet metal which means he works a lot fabricating and installing people’s roofs, making metal chimneys, metal flashings and other things of that nature.   Over the years he has worked on pretty much everything from roofs for the locals to high profile jobs for people like Oscar De La Renta doing custom copper work on his New England home.   One might imagine that being a roofer in Maine can be tough especially in the winter months but you’d never know it talking to John…. he’s been doing it since he was 17 years old and seems to love every minute of it.   Ask him and he will tell you that he has always loved being outdoors and being up high, even as a kid he was always up high in a tree somewhere.

In addition to being a damn fine roofer,   John (and his whole immediate family) are extremely talented musicians and entertainers.    When I was a kid I remember they used to throw a folk festival called “The Buttermilk Hill Festival”  up on their farm every year. Today they regularly perform and play concerts for many of the local community events and elsewhere around the state.   They even have a few cd’s with their music on them.     But that is yet another story for another day….

 

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Hammond Lumber Company

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As I recently posted,   I have begun my new series,  The American Worker Project which will be an ongoing project as we travel around the country,  documenting the American Worker.      I chose to start this adventure and visual assignment in my home town in Belgrade Maine.      As many of you know I grew up in Maine and it is where we spend the better portion of each summer for the last 14 years when not off on assignment somewhere.

I figure what better place to start than the area you know best.      I chose Hammond Lumber Company because it is a classic example of a good old fashioned family business with its heart and soul wrapped firmly in the people that work there.    That and it helps that it helps that helps I am also good friends from back in our childhood days with one of the principles of the company.

Hammond Lumber is a company that was started back in the early 50’s by Skip Hammond with only $50 and a dream.     It has been a staple in the town and now around the entire state of Maine ever since.      For over 60 years they have grown from a small mill with 3 employees including Skip himself to a large company with 13 stores and counting with many many loyal employees,  many of whom have worked there for 20 – 30 years or more.      Hammond Lumber is one of those special kind of businesses where you  know you are much more to them than just a number.    They offer personal service that is rare these days,   all at a fair price.

I’d like to thank Mike Hammond and the other great folks at Hammond for giving me cart blanche and basically unrestricted access to film in their main saw mill.    Over the coarse of 3 days we shot a ton of video footage and stills of their hard working employees.

Here are just a few images from the shoot.     Click here or on any of the images to see a larger gallery of images posted to my website.

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Beginning The American Worker Project.

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Well at long last after hunkering down over the holidays we are able to post the first of many shoots to come for my new ongoing project called “The American Worker Project”. As we are traveling around the country we are getting the opportunity to meet and shoot all sorts of new people and things.     The American Worker Project is a way to visually feature and document (both on video and stills) some of the wonderful people we are meeting along our journey.   So far we have had the great pleasure to shoot in a lumber yard in Maine,  lobster fishermen on a lobster boat,    a man who hand makes wooden boats and also carves wooden boat models,  an old friend and metal roof man,  the owner of the oldest surf shop in New England,   Amish dairy farmers,  a train engineer and much more.   Here are a few images of the first of many to come.   Stay tuned….

UPDATE:   Added more shots from new shoots,  see below…

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