Clay Center, KS- It seems as if good news is hard to come by lately.  But, two elementary schools in the KCLY listening area received a gift of hand-made cedar Lincoln Logs recently.

John Will, a retired military veteran, who is now in his 80’s, lives in Halstead, KS and has spent his retirement driving across the state to give his creations to Kansas elementary schools.

Derek Holmes, the Principal at Concordia Elementary says Mr. Will showed up Wednesday morning and presented multiple sets of handmade cedar Lincoln logs.

“With the kids, the third and fourth grade, he also brought a bunch of blocks, like if the kids are working on fractions or something like that in math, he cut a bunch of squares up.  It took a lot of time, “says Holmes. “He hand-graved his name in the and everything.  There’s some good math manipulatives and good for the hand-eye coordination putting that stuff together.”

Will has made and donated over 750 sets of Lincoln logs, which he has donated to elementary schools across the state.

Another elementary school in our listening area that was also greeted by Mr. Will Wednesday was Lincoln Elementary School in Clay Center.

Matt Weller, Principal of Lincoln Elementary says they will use the gift of the Lincoln log sets and blocks for their Project LEAD, summer camp, and with the clubs.

“It was great.  I didn’t even know who Mr. Will was until he stopped in.  Usually when people bring donations by, a lot of times it’s older stuff.” Weller goes on and says, “I didn’t realize even what it was when he brought it in, and when I found out that it was hand-made by him, and he was giving us three sets of these cabins from Lincoln Logs for free, it was pretty neat.  Pretty neat to see.”

Weller says that he hasn’t let the children play with them as of yet, but he will as soon as he organizes them so the pieces don’t get mixed up, but plans on show it at their weekly Rise and Shine that is held on Friday’s.

And When Weller questioned what motivated Will, it was a simple answer, “He said he just wanted a way to give back to kids.  So, he started making these things and found that schools were very receptive to them so he started driving around the state of Kansas and stopping at random elementary schools and asking if they wanted them.”

According to Weller and Holmes, the school thank John Will for his generosity. “Thank you, thank you for his generous donation.  And we need more people like that in this world, that’s for sure” says Holmes.


Janet Schnell covers state and local news for KFRM and KCLY. You can follow the KCLY or KFRM Facebook page for more stories.

KFRM covers news from across the state of Kansas, the Northern part of Oklahoma, and Southern part of Nebraska.

KCLY coverage area includes the nine counties of Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Geary, Marshall, Ottawa, Riley, Republic, and Washington.

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