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Building Trades Instructor Retires from Greenland

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July 18, 2011 by wcobserver

Courtesy Photo - Freddie Wood takes aim with his grandson Harrison Coker. Wood retired June 9 as Greenland’s Building Trades Instructor and is looking forward to spending more time with family and the outdoors.

By Sabra Whittenburg

​GREENLAND – A valuable member of Greenland High School, Freddie Wood, will be sorely missed. He retired from the teaching profession on June 9, 2011. He has been with the Greenland School District since the consolidation of Greenland and Winslow in 2004-2005.

Freddie Wood attended Winslow School from first grade though his senior year. He graduated from Winslow in May, 1970.

Winslow didn’t have a lot of extra-curricular activities for it students, but it did have baseball. During his senior year, the team went to the state playoffs in Clarksville, where Winslow placed second. Freddie pitched and played centerfield and went on to play summer baseball on a men’s team in Winslow.

He attended community college in Fort Smith before transferring to the University of Arkansas, where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in December, 1974.

In December of 1974, he was told of an opening for a Building Trades teacher in Brinkley. Before applying for the position, Freddie made a trip to Brinkley to check out the school. He was hired for the spring semester of 1975 and taught the following school year. He first started teaching at age 23. He was so young looking, that he wore a tie so the students would know that he was a teacher.

His love for the mountains and Northwest Arkansas eventually brought him back to Fayetteville.

Freddie and his wife, Helen, met while they were in high school. Helen moved to Winslow in the summer of 1967 from Houston. Although they didn’t date during high school, they knew each other and attended the same church. Freddie and Helen married in August, 1971. They have three daughters and three son-in laws: Natisha and Jeremy Claypool, Sandy and Jay Branson, and Jennifer and Beau Gage. They also have six wonderful grandchildren, Koltyn, Skylan, Rylan, Morgan, Harrison, and Kamden, which are the joy of his life.

Freddie and Helen moved many times during those first years of married life. In 1978, Freddie built their home in Winslow where they still live. Freddie was an active member of the Winslow Community. He joined the Boston Mountain Volunteer Fire Department where he served as Assistant Fire Chief, Training Officer and First Responder. He volunteered for the fire department for 16 years. He was elected to the Winslow City Council and served six years. He also served on the Winslow School Board for six years.

Freddie stated teaching Building Trades at Winslow in 1985. While in this position, he was called upon to do many things. He was over the fire marshals, who conducted monthly fire drills. They were jokingly known as “Freddie and the Fire Marshalls.” He was also a class sponsor and went on several senior trips. He has taken students to Florida, Padre Island, Dallas, Alabama and Missouri.

The Winslow Building Trades constructed six homes in the area. This was a school project that they only worked on for two hours a day during the school year and it usually took two years to complete one home. They did all the work themselves from the ground up. They also built the bleachers in the Winslow gym, bookshelves for the Winslow City Library and the school library, and tables for the computer lab. Freddie and his classes did many ​projects for the school and community.

When Winslow and Greenland consolidated in 2004, Freddie moved his program to Greenland. His first project at Greenland was to renovate the old store building so he would have a classroom. He also built the ticket booths at the football field and the counter in the high school office. Another project was remodeling the old house to make it into the administration office. His classes built the gazebo that is used for the outdoor classroom, which was a project for the EAST lab. He also did some work in the field house. The students built props for homecomings, prom, and the drama class. Freddie started and ended his day driving the school bus, which he did for 26 years.

In years past, Freddie would work during the summer months, building a house, doing remodeling or some kind of project. If the job called for an extra worker, he would contact one of his students and offer them the job. His daughter even worked for him one summer.

Freddie has always been big on safety. One summer they were trying to get a house dried in because Freddie was going to be gone a few days. As they were putting down the tar paper on the roof, Freddie reminded the boys not to step on the area of the roof where the fire place would be because there would be nothing under the paper to hold them. Freddie forgot his instructions and stepped right on that spot. He fell to the floor, knocked himself out and sprained both wrists.

Freddie enjoys going to Colorado and camping. He spends the days riding his fourwheelers on the mountain roads. In the evening, he likes to take a ride to look for elk, deer and other wild animals.

He takes lots of pictures and enjoys the solitude. He loves spending time with his grandchildren.

His favorite TV show is “The Andy Griffith Show.” He says “you can learn a lot of life lessons by watching the show.” In his own way, Freddie is a lot like Sheriff Taylor. He will help you any way he can and point you in the right direction. He tries to live his life using Christ as his example. Freddie has touched many lives during his teaching years. His students have learned not only building skills, but life lessons from Freddie. Freddie and his building program will be missed.

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