Boys with their toys - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Boys with their toys

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - In every grown man beats the heart of a little boy. Just as in the hands of a skilled craftsman, a piece of wood becomes a toy.

"All the people you see around here are all members of the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association," toy maker Charlie Berman said.

Every Wednesday in Jerry Blakely's shop in El Cajon, a dedicated group of men and women turn scraps of wood into works of waddling whimsy.

And even though Jerry passed away a just over a year ago, his wife Pat still allows the group to use the shop to craft their toys. Once they are assembled, the toys are distributed to needy children through organizations around the county.

"We never see the recipients," Charlie said.

Charlie has been the group's toy chairman for the past 18 years.

"We are making toys that we are proud of that are quality and we give these toys to these children so hopefully they know somebody does care about them. That motivates us more than anything else. Of course, we have a lot of fun too," he said.

Charlie is still having fun at age 91, and the woodworkers are rolling up an impressive number of toys made.

"I made an educated guess of about 35,000," he said.

Like Charlie, these wooden wonders are built for the long haul.

"No batteries involved, no motors. They are made to last for generations," he said.

In El Cajon, a group of inspired woodworkers unleash their inner child, sharing their skills and the knowledge that acts of kindness are their own reward.

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