Building Toys to Help Children’s Therapy Patients’ Imaginations Soar

Building Toys to Help Children’s Therapy Patients’ Imaginations Soar

What does Children’s Therapy do when surprised by a gift of custom-built, toy wooden airplanes? They give them to children who will love them, of course. Which is just what community member and grateful Valley patient, Doug Amber had in mind when he made his first delivery.

Inspired by the streaking Blue Angel jets, purring vintage biplanes and agile helicopters he ogled as a kid during Seafair, Doug Amber made a career at Boeing helping build planes. As a member of the mock parts team, he precision-crafted prototype wooden parts to refine pre-production specifications.  

After retirement, Doug was motivated to continue using his professional skills to handcraft wooden toys, especially airplanes. “My childhood was kind of difficult and making these toys are my therapy,” says Doug. “Kids need to use their imaginations and dream big. My hope is that my toys will let them do that.”

There’s many hours of love built into each of Doug’s wooden toys which he constructs in his home workshop specifically set-up for the task. He’s already building more for Children’s Therapy and plans to expand his repertoire to trucks, trains and boats. “Building these has already made my life much happier. Everybody wins.” Many thanks to Doug from the Children’s Therapy staff, patients and families!

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Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office