MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - An Army veteran started a program that now helps children across the country, and he’s keeping the tradition alive right in the Grand Strand.
“I like my job, I do,” said the captain of Myrtle Beach’s Home Depot children’s workshop, Doug Peterson.
With a grin and giggle you can’t miss, Peterson keeps the projects coming for the 300 or so kids a week he builds wooden toys with. You could say it’s a second passion in life.
With a dozen kids wearing their own Home Depot orange aprons, Peterson wore a matching one with veteran patches over his. His has more paints marks on than others, showing his 26 years of hosting kids workshops at Home Depot.
“Just seeing the kids when they come in, and I enjoy it, they’re all polite, so nice. Everybody’s nice people,” Peterson said.
The Home Depot hosts children’s workshops monthly across the country. But unlike the other Home Depots, this one has them weekly because of Peterson.
He even comes up with his own toys for the kids to make, and cuts them in his home workshop.
“We built this house so I’d have my workshop,” Peterson said looking around.
He’s surrounded by the tools his father used to teach him woodworking and souvenirs from his favorite memories with his wife. He said they’re celebrating their 60th anniversary this October.
You can also count on the Kingston Trio and folk music to be streaming out of the workshop’s open door as Peterson cuts wood.
“They (Home Depot) supply once a month and we cut the rest,” he explained.
While his wife watches her soap opera, Peterson retreats to his place. He’s proud of his own invention of paddle boats, which he’ll challenge anyone to a race with.
He also carved duck models, parrots and dragonflies for the kids to make and paint, among other toys. Peterson said around Veterans Day they’ll write letters to the military. “
"What these kids come up with will knock your socks off,” Peterson said with a smile.
Peterson is an Army veteran himself. Although from Illinois, he began working at The Home Depot while living in San Diego. A friend suggested he work there, and he started the children’s workshops with a co-worker 26 years ago. The idea spread to become what it is now.
Peterson said he always gets a kick when the kids he worked with come back, all grown up. He’s helped thousands build wooden memories over the years.
Two in Myrtle Beach come to mind when you ask about his frequent builders.
“Two little boys that come down to visit their grandparents for the summer, they’ll come in probably next week, they always come in ‘Captain!’” Peterson said. “You can’t do better than that!”
The pride of his work is obvious with each ear-to-ear grin and toy invention he cuts.
“What better job could you have?” Peterson asked.
When he’s not at Home Depot or working in his workshop, he likes to take his wife on picnics in the boat he built. Building boats is another hobby of his he learned in school. The couple has been in the Grand Strand area for 15 years.
Peterson will be at the Myrtle Beach Home Depot Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.