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Welding for veterans

Lake Superior College’s Skills USA club stands with their “A Soldier’s Love” sculpture lit in the background. The team of integrated manufacturing students is (from left) Michael Decaprio, instructor Matt Farchmin, Kathleen Crooks, Nicole Okstad and instructor Max Udovich.

Students from Lake Superior College are welding to support a local veteran. The SkillsUSA club, a team of integrated manufacturing students, is raising funds for the purchase of an assistance dog for a local vet by selling sculptures they made called "A Soldier's Love."

The sculpture portrays a back-lit silhouette of a combat vet standing ready with his gun while being flanked by one dog on each side. The piece was designed by LSC alum Spencer Wilenius and created by SkillsUSA. The team put more than 100 hours into making the pieces, including the plasma-cutting, cleaning, welding, painting and backlight-installation. The sculptures are $125 each and can be purchased through Kathleen Crooks at (218) 565-8490.

Sculpture proceeds will go to PetsLoyal2Vets, a Burnsville (MInn.,)-based nonprofit that connects veterans throughout Minnesota with trained therapy companion dogs at no cost to the veterans. Veteran-assistance dogs help vets who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and physical injury among other challenges. It costs between $10,000 to $60,000 to raise and train one assistance dog.