HARTINGTON — Evie Freeman is in a class of her own.
Not many 10-year-olds can say they have earned a purple heart this summer.
In a way, Evie Freeman has. She earned a purple ribbon for her heart welding project in 4-H at the Cedar County Fair.
She welded a heart-shape with an arrow through it. The project was a wire welding project.
Her project was selected as the top exhibit at the Cedar County Fair and will be headed to the state fair in Lincoln for more competition. Her welding projects were included in the static exhibits.
She also earned a purple ribbon for her other welding project, a garden orb.
She is the daughter of John and Audrey Freeman. Audrey Freeman is a teacher at Cedar Catholic. John works at Cedar Knox Public Power.
Her maternal grandfather, Mike Victor, helped her with the projects at the farm where he and his wife, Marta Victor live.
“My Grandpa helped me in his welding shop on his farm. He has everything set up there for welding,’’ Evie Freeman said. “This isn’t the first project we made together. We made a wooden birdhouse before.’’
The projects were suggested by Grandpa Mike Victor as he had made them before.
“Grandpa knew where all the welds went,’’ Evie Freeman said. “This is my first welding project. Grandpa is a farmer and welds on the side.’’
Neither Evie or her mother, Audrey, could think of any other students that are Evie’s age, welding.
“None of my friends are doing it,’’ Evie said.
Peer pressure was not a motive for the project. Neither was a class project the directive to launch a young girl into this endeavor.
The bond between granddaughter and grandfather arises as the clear spark of imagination for this top awarded 4-H project.
As a science and technology project in 4-H, the young welder needed to draw up blueprints herself.
“I drew up blueprints by looking at the projects that my Grandpa did before,’’ she said. “I wanted my project to be slightly smaller than Grandpa’s that I looked at for blueprints. I also changed some places for welds on the heart project.’’
Although she had the option to spray paint her projects, she said she liked the original rustic look of the metal.
While welding, she said she wore a mask to protect her eyes.
“I didn’t want to ruin my vision and needed to keep the sparks away from my eyes so I wore a mask,’’ she said. “You also need to be good with your hands to keep from getting burn wounds on your hands. At first I was afraid of the sparks flying off from the wire welder. Little pieces of hot metal fly at you. I was nervous about that. I had to wear the mask, long sleeves and long pants to protect myself.’’
While making the heart, we had to trace on the chain so we knew where it needed to go, she said. The heart project took about an hour to make the heart shape. The orb took about 20 minutes to make.
“You can hang the orb or put a stick in it to post it in a garden,’’ she said.
“My Grandpa made several orbs and put them together on an orb tree. My Grandpa also makes trees and gives them out at Christmas time.’’
Evie said she plans to continue welding.
“I think I might want to continue to be a welder as an adult,’’ she said.
“I am still thinking about where I want to go to college. My Mom, my Grandma and my Great-grandma all went to Wayne State College.’’
The young welder said she may visit the college. WSC has a welding sculpture lab.
“Welding is fun. It was not as hard as I thought it would be. I wish more kids would do it,’’ she said. “I think my next project will be a windmill. I might also like to weld one of the Christmas trees that my Grandpa makes.’’