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Area master craftsmen recognized in annual ceremony
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Residential builder Reggie Bell looks at his brother Ron Bell while talking about their industry during the Master Craftsmen Awards at Featherbone Communiversity off Chestnut Street in Gainesville on Tuesday. - photo by Nick Bowman

In what was a singular moment during the event, the nine craftsmen studied a picture on the screen behind them of a luxury inn where carpenter Lee Arnold had done some work.

“Who all was involved in that?” asked state Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, referring to the types of work that went into overall construction. “Masonry, pavers, landscapers, rock work, framers, electrical work.

“Everybody is involved in that photograph. Every single man’s (craft) up here,” said Miller, emceeing Lanier Technical College’s sixth annual Master Craftsmen Awards at Featherbone Communiversity off Chestnut Street in Gainesville.

Men representing eight different trades were honored at the event, with each talking about their work and how they got into it — the training and schooling it took.

In addition to Arnold, the honorees and their respective trades were:

  • Rick Gailey: sitework, landscaping

  • Landry Crumley: masonry, stone and concrete work

  • Ron and Reggie Bell: residential construction

  • Stanley Cochran: electrician

  • Brandon Dornak: machinist/toolmaker

  • Russell Mattingly: finish tradesman

  • Lanny Dunagan: welder/fabricator

“These men contribute to our community, to our quality of life, to our economy and to our country,” Miller said.

During separate interviews with Miller, each of the craftsmen also imparted bits of wisdom to high school students attending the event.

“Start out small and get as much education as you can,” Gailey said. “... You’ll have your aches and pains, but it’s rewarding.”

Miller told the audience the craftsmen give an example of “working with your hands.”

“Learn how to fix something,” he said. “You’re going to own a home someday and something’s going to break, and you can’t call somebody to run (fix) it every time.”

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