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Local Man Lending a Hand and Hammer

Rod Straw, from Mahaffey, Clearfield County, spends several weeks a year in the Bahamas helping to build a camp for underprivileged kids.
MAHAFFEY, CLEARFIELD COUNTY - Trips to the Bahamas several times a year.  Sounds great, right?  For a local man, it is enjoyable, but he stays at a poor area near the capital, Nassau.

Rod Straw, a contractor from Mahaffey, has been making the trip about 200 miles off the coast of Florida for a 7 years now.

"I fell in love with the opportunity to use the skills that I have to help somebody who really needs things done," said Straw.

He donates his time and tools.  With the help of missions groups, he helped transform 23 acres of barren land into what's now known as Camp Bahamas.

"A lot of time there is no skilled help that comes with the mission teams, it's a youth pastor or a teacher and a principal," he said.  "I feel great if I have somebody who can run a circular saw.  That frees me up to do other things ."

Over the past 7 years, Straw and his wife have become close friends of camp director Richard Albury.

"Everyone calls him 'The Machine'.  He's up earlier than everybody and working.  He's the brains behind the building and how to organize it all together," Albury said in a Skype interview from the Bahamas.

Straw makes the flight 2 or 3 times a year.  Once he spent 6 straight weeks building, all so kids living in poverty learn about faith and have a little fun.

"You see the gamut from extreme poverty to those who have a lot.  We are there trying to help those who have very little," Straw said.  "I think it would be great for every American kid to be exposed to a third world country to see what 80 percent of the world lives like."

Click here to donate to Camp Bahamas.
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