A number of community members and organizations have donated or lent support toward Streator’s river rescue boats, and now Streator High School student Zach Rambo can add his name to that list.
The 17-year-old junior welded together an outboard motor stand, which will be used by the fire department to make it easier to work on the motor and transfer to boats.
“I was honored that (the teacher) asked me to help,” Rambo said.
Councilman Joe Scarbeary, a Streator firefighter, was impressed by the welding department at the high school during a previous visit and reached out when he knew the fire department needed a motor stand.
“I saw the welding program there and they’ve always been willing to help,” Scarbeary said. “They do a great job.”
Welding instructor David Taylor said many projects are done just for a grade, but students also love the projects in which someone comes in with an idea or problem that can be solved.
“They love community projects because it gives them real-world experience,” Taylor said.
Taylor said the fire department gave them a photo of a similar stand and it was up to Rambo to recreate it.
The student said he sat down with Taylor and talked about the measurements before cutting it out and welding it together.
“It was my first project and I really enjoyed it,” Rambo said.
He added it was rewarding to know that it would be put to use in the field.
Rambo has another year ahead of him in the program and looks forward to future projects.
Taylor said his students have worked on community projects in the past for both Streator and Ottawa, including decorative coal carts for Streator Savings and Loan.
He believes the projects and problem-solving ideas from community members strengthen the education the students receive.
“It shows these skills transfer out of the classroom, which is what you want,” Taylor said. “Most of (the students) get it and they run with it.”