Like a kid again

By Steve Smith
Posted 3/30/11

Paul Zastrocky

MetroWest intern

Most everyone remembers their favorite childhood toys. The toys that serve us as children often become reflective statements of a person’s …

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Like a kid again

Posted

Paul Zastrocky
MetroWest intern


Most everyone remembers their favorite childhood toys. The toys that serve us as children often become reflective statements of a person’s skill-sets, interests and dreams.


    For Curtis Mork, 35, Lego building blocks seem to reveal the character of someone interested in building communities as he builds Lego sets.
    Mork is an avid Lego collector and has built 96 sets, the largest set being a running carousel with sound comprised of 3,200 pieces. Most of his sets, however, are Star Wars.
    Two years ago, he thought that the Platteville Public Library might like to put up a display of his Star Wars Lego sets in the library for the kids. When he spoke with Naomi Nguyen, activities coordinator at the PPL, she surprised Mork by asking him to run a three-day program for kids. Together they organized a three-day Legofest of sorts, where kids can come to the library and learn about the history of Legos, how Lego sets are designed and compete in Lego building competitions.
    More than 400 people showed up at the PPL over the three days, a high number for the small, quiet town. Mork and Nguyen were surprised and excited to see the high numbers of smiling children as they played with the Legos the library bought for the occasion.
    The next year, the library contacted Mork and asked him if he could do an entire week. He agreed and added a barbecue, a show-and-tell time and whole bunch of new displays, which saw a higher turnout than the first event and attracted people from nearby towns.
    It wasn’t until roughly three years ago that Mork started playing with Legos again. Like most kids, he lost interest in the hobby when he was 10 or 11, though he remembers sitting under his parents’ kitchen table, tinkering away at different Lego creations.
    “It’s one of those things where it was a fun thing when you were a kid. But then you start growing up and you kind of forget about it,” Mork said. “And I tell you what. I’m glad I got back into it.”
    Mork started getting sick in 2007, and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. He started having problems controlling his hands and was in a lot of pain. The doctors wondered if it was a nerve problem. So they started running a myriad tests on him. All came back negative.
            He wasn’t able to work during this time and stumbled upon a Star Wars Lego set at Target. It later became a Christmas present. He found that building the sets improved his hand-eye-coordination and kept him busy. He started researching Legos and has become somewhat of a Lego aficionado since.
    Mork’s background also includes volunteer work for different non-profits. Originally from Wyoming, he moved to Colorado for love and continues to volunteer at the Lions Club in Platteville. His most recent volunteering endeavor with the Lions was setting up donation jars at local businesses for the tsunami victims in Japan.
    His Lego program is drawing interest from libraries and schools around the state. This summer, part of his Lego collection will be following him to libraries in Hudson, Sterling, Loveland, Fort Collins, Johnstown and Platteville as he runs different events.
    The next event is at the library in Hudson from April 13-15. Platteville, the largest event, will be held during the last week of September.
    “He’s just so much fun to work with,” said Nguyen. “He’s a wonderful guy and he’s just a big ol’ teddy bear. And we love him.”
    She added that the program is “something I think we’ll do every year for many years to come.”

Contact Paul Zastrocky at 303-659-2522, ext. 225 or at pzastrocky@metrowestnewspapers.com.
 

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