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Childhood carousel helps Cache County man fight cancer

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PETERSBORO -- A Cache County man is putting quite a bit of money and years of hard work into rebuilding a childhood memory.

Vean Woodbrey is restoring an antique carousel right in his front yard. The 1930's model is one he remembers riding as a kid.

Like many good projects, this one started with the animals.

"I've got an elephant and a lion around the corner, but they're pretty heavy," he said. "Everybody needs a hobby. I don't know if it needs to be this big."

He spends his retirement grinding away in his Petersboro workshop, carefully shaping each giraffe, horse and lamb.

That's my purpose now -- put some loving memories in some of these young kids.

–Vean Woodbrey

"Carousels have been in my blood for years," Woodbrey said. "Now I've got one."

The carousel is a 1930s Allan Herschell model. Even after a year and a half of work, it's still in pieces. Each part has to be painstakingly restored to working condition.

"There's not been one nut, bolt of screw that hasn't been rusted together," Woodbrey said.

He found the pieces in northern Montana. Woodbrey says the seller at the time didn't have much of a clue about what kind of a carousel this was. But Woodbrey had a pretty good idea. In fact, he says when he went to take a look, he made sure he brought a moving truck and a trailer."

"My wife says, 'I thought you were just going to look,'" he said.

But Woodbrey's interest in this hobby is deeply rooted.

"When I was younger, I used to go over to Liberty Park and ride the carousel and I was in tears when it burnt down," he said.

It was a cherished part of his childhood.

"That's my purpose now," Woodbrey said. "Put some loving memories in some of these young kids."

It's those loving memories that may have helped keep Woodbrey alive. About two years ago, he was diagnosed with bone and prostrate cancer.

"I hate to say it, but I kind of gave up for awhile," he said.

Soon after, this project started to take shape. Woodrey says the time in his shop helped him keep fighting.

"This is how I put those worries aside," he said.

While finishing the carousel will likely take a few more years, this father of 16, grandfather to 68, and great-grandfather to seven more hopes to show those kids, and others, a part of his childhood that lives deep in his heart.

"You can't put a prince on enjoyment that young kids should have," said Woodbrey.


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