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Salesman crafts a bond with scouts

Published Sep. 30, 2005

(ran EO edition)

To Cub Scout Webelos Den 4 of Pack 475 in East Lake Woodlands, Doug Thomas of Home Depot in Palm Harbor is a hero. To den leader Lisa Tuorto, Thomas is a very nice man.

Thomas recently helped den members make small wooden Christmas trees as part of a merit badge woodworking project. His help is part of The Home Depot's program of community projects, he says.

When Mrs. Tuorto approached Home Depot about helping the boys, all fourth-graders, with woodworking saws and tools for their project, the store assigned Thomas.

Because the saws and other tools are potentially dangerous for boys of that age, Thomas cut out the 7-inch Christmas trees, which consist of two flat pieces of }-inch white pine fitted at right angles. The Cub Scouts then sanded the parts and painted and decorated them.

Thomas, a salesman at The Home Depot at Curlew Road and U.S. 19, says he has helped other groups on similar projects. When his son, John, now 21 and living in New Port Richey, was a child, Thomas helped him and other youth group members with woodworking projects.

Thomas, 46, who lives in Holiday, says woodworking has been his hobby since he was 7 and growing up on a farm in northern Indiana.

"He was just wonderful," Mrs. Tuorto says of Thomas. "And you could see he enjoyed working with the boys."

One of those boys is Ryan Tuorto, son of Mrs. Tuorto and her husband, Joe, of East Lake Woodlands.

Other den members are Ryan Brieskorn, son of Arnie and Laura Diaz; Austin West, son of Donna West; Lee Rossman, son of Kristin Rossman; Jeffrey Satterfield, son of Mike and Jean Satterfield; Iain Bennett, son of John and Ella Bennett of Tarpon Woods; and Buddy Cernan, son of Gary and Donna Cernan of Oldsmar.