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Arts & Culture

Welding class in Somerset strengthens bond between grandfather and grandson

Freddie&KalebRoy.jpg
Somerset Community College
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Freddie Roy, 69, of Russell Springs, and his grandson, Kaleb Roy, 21, who lives in the Pulaski County town of Nancy, enrolled together in a Somerset Community College welding class.

As Father’s Day approaches, it’s good to remember the special bond often formed across generations between grandfathers and grandsons.

That bond continues to grow stronger between Freddie Roy, a 69-year-old school bus driver and his 21-year-old grandson, Kaleb Roy. The two men enrolled together in a Somerset Community College welding class.

Welding instructor Bruce Johnson said having Freddie and Kaleb Roy together enriches the class for him, as a teacher, because he sees that it goes beyond welding.

Johnson said he’s gotten to know 69-year-old Freddie Roy and appreciates his perspective and sense of humor.

“Freddie is a very funny guy. Freddie makes the class a whole better because he’s in it. Because he’s been around, he's done a lot of different things and been around a lot of people," said Johnson. "He’s just a very likable guy.”

Freddie Roy lives in Russell Springs and when he talks about his work, his sense of humor shines through.

“I did farm, but I pretty much retired it and I just drive a school bus in Russell County," said Freddie Roy.

He's been a school bus driver for 44 years.

Does he like his job?

“Yes, I think so," said Freddie. "I'm trying to make up mind whether I want to make a career out of it or not.”

In addition to enjoying Freddie’s s sense of humor, Johnson says he’s seen
Freddie’s creativity.

“He does a lot of tinkering at home, I think, building small things, just like he built me a small tractor and bush hog," said Johnson. "And then the last night of class he brought me in a lamp that he had welded together out of gears and pistons.”

"Every year for his kids on the bus, for Christmas he’d make tractors out of spark plugs and give to ‘em.”
Kaleb Roy, about his grandfather Freddie Roy

Kaleb Roy lives in the Pulaski County town of Nancy and said he’s always been close to his grandfather and seen lots of things that have come from his “tinkering.”

“When we was kids, you’d go buy toys and with three boys runnin’ around, they didn’t last long," said Kaleb. "Well, he’d come in the house one day, we were all over there, and he had toy farm equipment made. And then every year for his kids on the bus for Christmas he’d make tractors out of spark plugs and give to ‘em.”

Kaleb said he realized the welding class was a chance for his grandfather to take his self-taught skills up a notch.

“The way I got my grandpa into it, is he’s farmed his whole life. He’s welded, but he ain’t never done nothin’ with a MIG welder and wire feed. He’s just old school. And he had bought him a new welder back last summer. And he’d been callin’ me, 'Hey, will you help me learn to use it?' And I’d used one a little bit. I said, 'Yeah I will,' but when I had time he was doing something and when he had time, I was always doin’ something," said Kaleb.

"When the class opened up, I was over at his house and my grandma was asking me about the class and I said, 'It’d be a good class to get him signed up for, where he’d learn to use it. It’s two nights a week, didn’t have to interfere with none of his school bus drivin’ and all that.' At first he was hesitant about taking the class," said Kaleb. "And then about a couple hours later after he said Nah, he don’t want to take it, he said he enrolled and he showed up every day.”

Freddie said he’s glad he accepted his grandson’s invitation to join
the welding class.

“Well, he took it, so he thought I ought to go with him, so I went,” said Freddie. “I loved it.”

Kaleb said he uses welding in his construction job and the class expands his skills.

He says he’s taking the next welding class in the fall and looking forward to his grandfather being in it, too.

“I’m for sure goin’ and I’m 99 percent sure he’s game to go to,” said Kaleb.

It’s one more way for Kaleb Roy and Freddie Roy to continue welding their grandfather-grandson friendship across the generations.

Lamp2.jpg
Bruce Johnson
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A lamp created by Freddie Roy of Russell Springs, Kentucky was given to welding instructor Bruce Johnson.