Firewood business going well for visually-impaired boy

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Here’s something you don’t hear about every day – a 17-year-old visually-impaired person running his own firewood business.

His name is Nathan Pendrak, and he’s just finishing up his Grade 11 year in Slave Lake. On evenings and weekends he spends quite a lot of his time splitting wood – doing it without seeing.

“I do have a little bit of vision,” says Nathan, “but it’s basically by feel.”

Nathan’s business recently experienced quite a bump when Big Fish Bay, the RV resort on the lake near Slave Lake, ordered 100 bags of firewood.

“It took three people 24 hours,” he says.

Otherwise, word of mouth has resulted in Nathan’s fledgling business going along at what he calls a “decent” pace. He calls it Blind Axe Woodcutting.

How he got started in the business was at the suggestion of a family friend as something he might try to make some extra money.

He said to himself, “why not?” and away he went. With – it should be noted – quite a lot of help from family and friends.

“People let me use their land to get wood from,” he says.

He relies on his dad Ryan to cut and gather the wood and bring it to their Poplar Lane residence. Then Nathan takes over with the splitter, which is borrowed from his grandparents.
“I will buy my own soon,” he says.

As for the future of Blind Axe Woodcutting, Nathan says, “I will keep doing this at the very least until I finish high school.”

Nathan Pendrak operates the splitter at the family home in the Poplar Lane area near Slave Lake.

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