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Articles & Stories

Ukrainian woodworker with 15 children receives the gift of a lifetime

Monday, July 4, 2016

Ukrainian woodworker with 15 children receives the gift of a lifetime

Alexander Tverdohleb, the director of Wood-Mizer Ukraine, first met Mikola Lenchin back in 2003 when he was making some sales visits to Northwest Ukrainian towns. At that time, there were around ten sawmilling companies in the region, and Mikola was one of them. Mikola had a small bandmill without many features or much capacity, but it served his needs and Mikola began sourcing all his bandsaw blades from Alexander at that point.

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“We tried to get him to buy an LT15 sawmill,” Alexander recalls. “It’s a cool little sawmill, and could have improved Mikola’s sawmilling efficiency.” But Mikola wasn’t ready to buy, he had a growing family to feed, and a shiny new sawmill was a luxury he couldn’t afford.

“I remember how surprised I was when I met his five children,” shares Alexander. “All of them were very smart, well-behaved and helping each other with their work. In my contact book, I recorded their entry as ‘Mikola with many children’.”

“I always told him he needed to use Wood-Mizer equipment,” Alexander recalls. “I would say – ‘ Mikola, when you start working with an LT15 sawmill, and with Wood-Mizer’s blade maintenance equipment, you’ll feel much better about your work.’ But he always delayed making that investment, and we understood that. To save up money to purchase high-quality equipment – this comes second place to taking care of the family.”

Mikola continued to be a consistent customer for blades as Wood-Mizer Ukraine continued to grow in sawmill and blades sales throughout the country. Alexander soon wasn’t making personal visits, as his sales team took over those responsibilities as the company rapidly expanded. 12 years passed before Alexander had the opportunity to meet with Mikola again.

“I happened to be nearby his village, and so I called him and asked if I could stop by,” Alexander shares. “We talked and caught up with each other. Imagine my surprise when I found out that he and his wife were celebrating their 25th anniversary, and had just welcomed their 15th child!”

This gave Alexander an idea. Wood-Mizer Europe was also celebrating their 25th anniversary in Europe, and so in honour of the anniversary and arrival of the 15th child, Alexander decided it was about time for Mikola to have that LT15 sawmill they had talked about years before.

But he wanted it to be a surprise. He asked Mikola if he would be willing to host a regional demonstration for Wood-Mizer, where locals could come and see an LT15 in action, as well as blade sharpening and setting equipment. Mikola amiably agreed, little realizing that all the equipment wouldn’t be leaving the workshop after the demonstrations were over.

So the Wood-Mizer Ukraine team arrived and set up the LT15 sawmill and BMS200 blade sharpener and BMT100 toothsetter. Mikola had invited friends, neighbours, and the rest of the local community to come and experience the equipment up close. Many sawmillers and woodworkers showed up for the demonstrations, and Mikola did a lot of the demonstrating himself.

At the end of the day, as the crowds dissipated, Alexander thanked Mikola for hosting the demonstration. Then he handed him the keys to the LT15, and a certificate confirming the transfer of the sawmill, and blade maintenance equipment into Mikola’s ownership. 

“Our wish is a happy future for Wood-Mizer,” Alexander said. “As well as for all the people who work for the company and for Mikola and his family.”




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