The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on August 24, 1975 · Page 151
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August 24, 1975

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 151

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 24, 1975
Page 151
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Page 151 article text (OCR)

Their hobby is their work: welding By ANN KLEPACKI/photo by FRANK S. FOLWELL Two long-time instructors at the Hawkeye Institute of Technology feel they have been put on earth to work. So, they make work their hobby. That hobby and-or work is the pleasure of Harold and Kenny Bienfang, a team of brothers who have had many successes teaching welding. They take the students in each new class and send them out to jobs with beginning salaries of from $3.80 to $4-50 per hour. Many of the students eventually make $8.80 for pipeline work, for production piecework or as specialists in aluminum or stainless steel. Their students range in age from 16 to 60, from black or white, male or female, with elementary to college educations. "When a student graduates," says Kenny, the older brother, "I want him to be a carbon copy of me ... to have my skills and attitudes toward work." The Bienfangs have two objectives — to make a welder of a student as fast as they can and then get the student employment. Harold feels in teaching a trade, such as welding, that subject matter should pertain strictly to what the student will be doing on the job. Or, if it doesn't it should not be in the curriculum. Says Harold, "I classify teaching material as 1. vital information; 2. important to know, and 3, nice to know if there is enough time. Welding is hard, heavy, exacting work according to the Bienfangs. "People don't know it takes skill, energy, dexterity, co-ordination and ambition to weld. Any tradesman needs this philosophy and we wouldn't be good instructors if we didn't feel that way," continues Harold. Students leave then- welding class at Hawkeye trained to weld but not skilled welders, says Harold. "The skilled welder is a person who can set up a job, figure out what to do, follow the print, then do the job RIGHT. Some make the grade hi three to five yean and it might take another 10 years." Welders have a reputation for being rough guys* according to the Bien- fangs. Today, they say welding is a technical trade and has come out of the field into the plant. The welder, as a person, they say, is carefree, easy going, likes a good time, is independent, usually is strong, sticks together with workers or colleagues, goes out of the way to help someone, and is hard to fool. Such people, the Bienfangs say, can easily pick out someone who doesn't know what he's doing, especially teachers or instructors. And, the Bienfangs, who are they? Harold makes his home on Fox Road in Jesup, with wife Arts and children, Timothy, 17, and Naomi, 10. Kenny and his wife, Velma, live at 829 Alpine drive in Waterloo with children Kende, 15; Victor, 12, and Rodney, 10. They have been a team since ninth grade, playing high school basketball, double dating, purchasing things and working together. Raised on the family's 200-acre farm south hi Waterloo, they helped their four brothers farm while their three sisters helped with work at the house. Harold was six when he started milking and farming the horses and Kenny was nine when he began working on the hay baler. The Btenfang brothers with one of the 2,561 students they've taught. Kenny was graduated from Orange High in 1948, Harold the following year. While Harold put up grain bins hi Montana with his own construction crew, Kenny enlisted in the Navy and spent four years in the Orient as a welder. Harold took a course hi welding at the Hobart Training School, Troy, Ohio, and then returned to Iowa as a welder. He was soon first shift foreman at Waterloo Unloader where Kenny eventually became second shift foreman. Harold later went to Fort Dodge to be an instructor at a senior high and junior college and then he returned to Waterloo hi 1963 to teach welding for the Waterloo school district's post high school program, that later became Hawkeye in 1967. Kenny joined him at Hawkeye within four yean. The farm background of the Bien- fangs has shown them value of work, they fed, and has taught them care of materials. When they talk about their wort, they say people have been put on earth to work. "You've got to enjoy what you're doing," emphasizes Kenny. "You'll find all true tradesmen like being able to see something they've constructed. For someone else, it may be getting something started, like an engine that's stopped. For a guy in Egypt, it was to make a tomb that would last forever." Ann Klepacki is a free-lance writer from Cedar Falto. Laugh With The Wizard Of Id UAU6HIMG I'M LAUGHING No paste or powder holds dentures comfortably tight for weeks like Snug Denture Cushions Not a paste! Not a powder! Not • cream or wax pad! But amazing soft plastic adhesive cushions that hold loose, wobbly dentures comfortably tight and firm. Snug* Brand Denture Cushions are the long-lasting, clean way to hold loose dentures tight. 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