When Artwork Makes a Difference in Life


It’s not often that I receive personal mail from the post office these days. Much of what I get comes via the Internet.

So when I went to the mail box and found a small package addressed to me from Lyn and Sean Schmitt of North Las Vegas, I was excited. Once I opened it, I was even more excited to after reading this note:

“There is a bit of a story that goes with this belt buckle. I thought you might like to know the story behind it.

belt buckle

Two years back, I was working the weekend shift at the power plant when we had some unexpected visitors. We were hesitant to let anyone on site on weekends, especially when they don’t have an appointment.

The driver of that truck at the gate said he had been on site before and was there to pickup scrap from our lay-down yard. Now this is VERY unusual as we have copper and other metals that can be quite valuable and have been target of thieves in the past.

I asked the person to come in the control room so we could talk.

The truck came on site and in through the door walked a man and a couple of younger men who were obviously Native American. They told me they were from the local Paiute tribe and that they ran a school to teach their young men a skill to get them off the reservation.

They owned a smelter and would melt down scrap metals to create jewelry and trinkets that could be sold. After hearing this and seeing some of their products, I agreed to let them go back and scavenge.

They took some of our old wire and aluminum as well as a few pallets. That was the last I expected to hear from them.

Last week, we were surprised to see that same old truck pull up to the gate of the power plant. The same man came in with another of his students.

He presented us with a beautiful dream catcher that they made into a plaque. They also gave some of the staff belt buckles, knives and copper bangles.

The buckle you have in your hands was made from scrap aluminum and formed in a hand-made sand mold. I hope you enjoy it even more so, knowing the story that comes with it.”

I plan to buy a shadow box and mount both the letter and the bucket in it together as it is artwork that deserves to be shown off.

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