NEW BUFFALO — Frank Schmidt likes making birdhouses.

And people like getting his creations.

On Friday, June 14, he presented Chef Jackie Shen with a birdhouse replica of her Jackie’s Cafe restaurant to thank her for holding a 2018 “Fudgeraiser” to help make an adult exercise facility at New Buffalo Township’s Memorial Park possible (Schmidt, a member of the Rotary Club of Harbor Country which spearheaded the project, said the equipment should be arriving soon).

Hillary Bubb and Nora Duffy also helped raise funds for the project.

“Oh my goodness, this is so cool!” Shen said after Schmidt and members of the Rotary of Club made the presentation (Schmidt has been a Rotarian for about 40 years).

And with a little illumination Shen could see her photo inside the birdhouse,

She said Schmidt did a good job replicating Jackie’s, even including the red bicycle out front of the real-life New Buffalo eatery.

A retired educator and school administrator who worked as an industrial arts teacher for 17 years (including a decade at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind), Schmidt quipped that “When industrial arts teachers retire they set up a woodworking shop in their home.”

And even though he retired in 1991 as superintendent of the Jasper-Troupsburg schools in New York, that just what Schmidt did.

Schmidt said he and his wife, Kathy, moved to New Buffalo in 2002 to be near their children (Debbie and Nancy).

He makes 25 to 30 birdhouses a year, selling some every fall at the annual New Buffalo Service League Arts and Crafts Show.

Many of his current ones are created using reclaimed wood.

“That’s my main theme this year.”

The Schmidts have spent their past 22 winters in St. Augustine, Florida, where he also made turtle float rafts (with photographic evidence that alligators also make use of them).

Schmidt also is helping his daughter, Debbie Schmidt, provide free lunches for children in the New Buffalo area this summer.

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