'It keeps him busy:' Hartford man builds birdhouses in effort to make people happy amid pandemic

HARTFORD -- If you need a pick-me-up, there are a collection of feel-good stories at ShareLemonade.com.

It's a place to celebrate the good.

One freshly-picked story from the site features a birdhouse builder on a mission.

For this retired machine shop worker, using his seasoned hands comes natural.

But woodworking was never something 85-year-old Dan Thomson thought he would do so late in life.

Dan Thomson

"About a year and a half ago, I made a few bird houses and gave them to people and they liked them," said Thomson.  "I’ve just kept on and so far, I’ve made about 112 of them."

During this pandemic, he has one goal: To make people happy.

It's hard to tell who gets more out of the birdhouses: Dan or the kids he gives them to.

"It makes him very happy to do that and it keeps him busy with a purpose," said Rose Thomson, Dan's daughter.

Dan has 8 granddaughters and they all have birdhouses.

"He's a good guy," said Rose. "He's always been kind of a handyman, so anytime someone needed something done, he could figure out how to do it."

When Dan's work done, the kids and parents take pictures of them painting the birdhouses.

Dan does sell the birdhouses at $6 each and uses the money to buy more lumber.

But for the most part, he gives them away.

"One of my friends who had the birdhouses had put out on Facebook that she used it as art class when they were homeschooling during the pandemic, so that was cool," said Rose.

"Because there were so many bad things that were happening out of this whole pandemic, I hope something good comes out of it," said Rose. " And there are a lot of things that are good that are coming out of it. So, him being able to give away these birdhouses to help little kids and their parents, it was a nice thing to do."

"I felt good about it," said Dan. "The best thing is when I see birds going up."