Melvin Mullins doesn’t just spend his days as a security officer at the Smith-Cotton High School – he also is a builder.
Two years ago, Mullins got an idea from Pinterest. He had built a chair out of wooden pallets and showed it to a friend, who liked it. Mullins’ furniture-making now has spread to other people.
He said Sunday is now one of his biggest work days.
“It’s just a stress reliever,” Mullins said, but many people have wonderful things to say about his work. Some are Sedalia School District 200 employees who have bought his furniture, including Kendra Barton, assistant principal at Smith-Cotton Junior High.
“Mr. Mullins is very resourceful and uses recycled materials,” Barton said. “I like how the furniture is made out of old pallets. The pieces he made for me are creative, fun and are able to sustain the weather very well. I am very happy with the final results.”
Chris Hewett, administrative assistant in the freshman wing at Smith-Cotton High School, also has purchased pieces of Mullins’ furniture.
“It was very neat,” she said. “I liked it so much, I got another one. For Christmas, he made chairs for us and we gave them to our kids. … The chairs are heavy and very sturdy, very nice. They are perfect for the outdoors. The chairs and tables don’t tip so the grandchildren won’t fall and hurt themselves.”
Mullins has made many different items, including a table for his wife, Mary, and a picture frame for his niece as an engagement present. Mullins works on the pieces by himself; the longest time it took to complete a project was 13 hours, while he finished one in just 45 minutes. Cost depends on what he is making, with prices ranging from $25 to $200.
Mullins said his furniture making is just beginning.
“I plan on continuing building after retirement,” he said.
Hailey Geissler is a Smith-Cotton High School student.