It takes a community to raise a barn

first_img John Matson stood back and trembled with emotion while dozens of people scurried around his Hockinson property, trying to replace the irreplaceable.“This is overwhelming,” said the retired carpenter and builder, 74. “It’s not as big as it was, but it’s bigger than I deserve.”It seemed like the whole neighborhood turned out Saturday morning to prove otherwise, raising a new wood shop for Matson on the spot where the old one went up in smoke on the morning of Jan. 9.A team of experienced framers and roofers scrambled up above, guiding into place the triangular trusses that were hoisted up and over by a crane; below, a crew of younger guys with shovels dug around the old foundation to lay new water pipes. Others sawed boards and two-by-fours to size. And still others stood around drinking coffee and remembering how much Matson has meant to them over the years.“It doesn’t surprise me,” said John’s son Walt Matson, 45, sizing up the busy crowd of 40 or so. “Knowing Dad and all the people he helped over the years. Whether it was bringing food to someone who was hungry or helping fix a broken door or leaky roof or whatever. If somebody was in need of help, he always helped.”Matson, who has lived in the area all his life, spent nearly 40 years milking cows and then building cabinets — and all manner of other stuff — in the barn that evolved into a woodshop. “It was my putter shop,” he said. He blames his own less-than-professional wiring for the fire, he said. Volunteers help rebuild John Matson’s barn on Saturday.last_img

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