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Man creates ‘Vegas Strong’ plaques after Las Vegas shooting


His business involves making cutting boards, swings and housewarming gifts for real estate agents. One extra bedroom holds ... He cut pieces of wood into the shape of Nevada and added the Las Vegas skyline inside a heart. Sales proceeds will go to a ...


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When Ken Beck saw the aftermath of the Oct1 shooting unfolding live on television, he texted friends who were there to ensure they were all right. By Jan Hogan / View November 23, 2017 - 10:56 am   The plaques, seen Nov13, 2017, use a simple design inspired by the "Vegas Strong" logo(Jan Hogan/View)A cut-out piece of poplar wood, seen Nov13, 2017, sits in the laser cutter, awaiting the designBeck chose a simple design inspired by the "Vegas Strong" logo(Jan Hogan/View)Ken Beck watches Nov13, 2017, his laser machine burns the design for his plaques into wood cut into the shape of NevadaThe garage holds miter saw, band saw, router table, sander, joiner and planer machine where the rest of the work takes place(Jan Hogan/View)A miter saw is seen in the foreground as Ken Beck talks Nov13, 2017, about his effort to help locals stranded the night of the mass shootingAfter transporting people to their homes, he said, he saw a new side to Las Vegas, one of community(Jan Hogan/View)Ken Beck watches Nov13, 2017, his laser machine burns the design for his plaques into wood cut into the shape of NevadaThe garage holds miter saw, band saw, router table, sander, joiner and planer machine where the rest of the work takes place(Jan Hogan/View)Plaques ready for sanding are stacked Nov13, 2017, in Ken Beck'a garage wood working shopHe only expected a few people to want his plaquesWhen hundreds of orders came pouring in, he changed to an Excel sheet to keep track of them all(Jan Hogan/View)Ken Beck poses Nov13, 2017, beside his garage door which still bears painter's tape, his initial system for keeping track of ordersWhen hundreds of orders came pouring in, he changed to an Excel sheet to keep track of them all(Jan Hogan/View)Ken Beck works in his garage Nov20, 2017, as he fills orders for his plaques that honor those who died in the Oct1 mass shootingHe's had hundreds of orders for the mementos, sold on his Etsy site(Ken Beck/SPECIAL)Ken Beck pauses from working in his garage Nov20, 2017, as he fills orders for his plaques, seen in the foreground, that honor those who died in the Oct1 mass shootingHe's had hundreds of orders for the mementos, sold on his Etsy site(Ken Beck/SPECIAL)Ken Beck talks Nov13, 2017, about his effort to help locals stranded the night of the mass shootingHe created a wooden plaque which he sells on Etsy to raise money for the victims(Jan Hogan/View)Ken Beck talks Nov13, 2017, about his effort to help locals stranded the night of the mass shootingHe created a wooden plaque which he sells on Etsy to raise money for the victims (Jan Hogan/View)Ken Beck's initial order tracking system is seen Nov13, 2017, on his garage doorHe only expected a few people to want his plaquesWhen hundreds of orders came pouring in, he changed to an Excel sheet to keep track of them all(Jan Hogan/View) When Ken Beck saw the aftermath of the Oct1 shooting unfolding live on television, he texted friends who were there to ensure they were all right. They wereThen Beck hopped in his car and raced to the scene to help people who were stranded get home. “It was crazy seeing all the ambulances and (police presence),” he said“One lady I took home had blood on her shirt… I didn’t get home until 2 or 3 a.m.” By day, Beck, 40, is a salesman for XeroxHis hobby is woodworking, and he sells his wares via Etsy.comHis two-car garage is filled with machines — a band saw, a router, a sander, a drill press and a miter sawHis business involves making cutting boards, swings and housewarming gifts for real estate agentsOne extra bedroom holds his newest toy, a laser engraver that he bought used for $5,000. Beck saw the Vegas Strong logo and decided to make a plaque to honor the victimsHe cut pieces of wood into the shape of Nevada and added the Las Vegas skyline inside a heartSales proceeds will go to a victims fund, he noted. At first, he made three and sold them to a family member for $25 eachHe made 10 extra and added them at his Etsy site. Orders kept pouring inEach time he’d check his account, 100 more people had been added to the waiting listIn 18 hours, he had orders for 900 plaques. Even with his father-in-law, Jim Bond, coming over almost daily to cut out signs, Beck knew it would take months for him to fill the ordersSo, Beck posted on Instagram that he needed help. “And my wife and I were leaving on our honeymoon a few days after this happened, so I put together an Excel sheet to (keep track of who was pitching in),” he said“I had a ton of help.” The list includes Peterman Lumber out of California, which donated lumber and discounted later purchases; 702 Laser, Lazer Ladies and 702 Savant, which helped with engraving; MPK Woodworks, which helped Beck with cutting and engraving; Tony’s Custom Wood Creations; JaJa Woods and Matt Gonzalez, who helped cut and sand signs; Andy Trent, a Route 91 concert attendee who helped sand signs; a Girl Scout troop that stopped by to package more than 200 orders; and Lindsay Watt, who helped deliver signs. Some plaques were mailed off across the continent — to Florida, Illinois, even CanadaBut 85 percent, Beck estimated, went to customers in the Las Vegas area. “We had one order from the U.K., but the shipping was three times the cost, so they decided not to buy that one,” he said. One of the buyers was Cayte Pattay, a former critical-care transport nurse for AMR ambulance company who’s now at Southern Hills HospitalShe transferred to Sunrise the night of the mass shooting because she had trauma experienceShe ordered 38 plaques for firefighters and ambulance companies. “I never thought something like that would happen here,” Pattay said“It doesn’t matter the amount of training you’ve had; nothing can prepare you for a disaster of that caliber… Everyone worked together so wellIt was very heartwarming in a tragic situation.” Her plaques are being personalized with the names of emergency responders on duty. “I had to make those a tad bigger to fit all the names on them,” Beck said. The laser engraving machine takes 22 minutes to complete one pieceIt has been running nonstop to fill ordersExpenses include $4 for the wood, $1 per piece to Etsy and $6.52 for mailing. Precut plaques are stacked in the garage and in the house, waiting to have words added. Most look the same, with only a few being customized. “We’d get messages on Facebook or Instagram,” Beck said“I wasn’t going to read them allThen you’d get one that was saying, ‘I lost a friend at the concert; can I get one?’ and I’m like, ‘Crap, I can’t ignore these messages now,’ knowing I might skip over one like that.” He’d be up until 3 a.mreading them. A woman from Texas had won a “meet and greet” with Jason Aldeen, who was on stage when the shooting startedShe ordered a plaque to give to the country music star when she met himAnother woman who ordered a plaque was the aunt of one of the victims, 20-year-old Quinton Robbins. “So, it was the aunt asking if she could get one customized,” Beck said“Normally, I’d say no … but that one, we put his name on it for her.” He made three plaques for the auntHe didn’t charge her for them. “The whole idea was to help victims of this, so if the sign itself was helping, there’s no need to charge for those,” Beck said. Beck estimated that after expenses, he should be able to write a check for $18,000 to Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak’s emergency fund or find some “we’ll double your effort” matching fund. I’ve been “living in Las Vegas 20 years now, and there’s never been a sense of community here,” Beck said“So, to me, it was really cool seeing people being proud to live here.” Contact Jan Hogan at jhogan@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2949. Set to receive plaques Ken Beck’s plaques are set to go to these first responders: Nevada Highway Patrol, Southern Command Nevada Highway Patrol, Indian Springs Command Medic West Ambulance Community Ambulance American Medical Response Sunrise Emergency Department Sunrise, MICU Sunrise, TSICU Sunrise, CVICU North Las Vegas Police Department, South Area Command North Las Vegas Police Department, Northwest Area Command Southern Hills Emergency Department Valley Hospital Emergency Department Desert Springs Emergency Department Spring Valley Emergency Department Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, South Central Area Command LVMPD, Convention Center Area Command Clark County Fire Department, Station 11 Clark County Fire Department, Station 18 Clark County Fire Department, Station 32 Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, station 1 Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, station 10 Clark County Fire Department, station 33 StRose San Martin Emergency Department Clark County Fire, station 12 Clark County Fire, station 19 Las Vegas Fire Rescue, station 4 Henderson Fire Department, station 98 Henderson Fire Department, station 95 Metropolitan Police Department enterprise area command Henderson Police Department Las Vegas Fire Rescue, station 6 Las Vegas Fire Rescue, station 3 Las Vegas Fire Rescue, station 106 Henderson Fire Department, station 94 Henderson Fire Department, station 97

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