SAN ANTONIO - A local man is giving Santa's elves a run for their money by making toys to donate to a group of children who need some holiday cheer.
John Faultersack turns ordinary blocks of wood into colorful building blocks, as well as cars, boats, trains and planes.
Faultersack then donates the handmade gifts to Child Advocates of San Antonio, or CASA.
"He puts his heart and soul into every toy that he makes. And you see how much detail is in here," said Marina Gonzales with CASA. "It really puts a smile on their faces."
The agency works with children who have been removed from abusive or neglectful environments.
Faultersack said with the toys, he aims to help them forget their troubles.
"Just that somebody cares enough to give them something that is theirs," Faultersack said.
Faultersack also serves as a volunteer for the agency, helping the young clients through everything from doctor's appointments to court appearances.
He said he sees how unpredictable life can be for them.
Gonzales agrees, saying it’s not uncommon for the children CASA helps to move around from one home to another.
"They can move up to eight times," Gonzales said. "That includes different shelters, homes, some family placements."
Because of that, Faultersack puts handles on all of the larger toys he creates, making it easier for the kids to take it with them at a moment's notice.
However, his journey to becoming a part-time toymaker did not happen overnight.
A life-long tinkerer, Faultersack said he first began making things from wood as a teen.
In fact, he still has a cabinet in his living room that he built with his father.
After careers in the military, in the classroom as a teacher, and as an engineer, Faultersack retired and found himself with time to spare.
When his wife of more than 40 years, Angelita, became deathly ill, he returned to his old hobby.
"I was caretaking her in the house here and I needed something to do with little blocks of time," he said. "So I just started making them, a couple, three, four hours a day. And I wound up with a stack of toys."
This year, that stack includes about three dozen toys for CASA children.
All of the toys he makes begin as ideas in Faultersack's mind, then take shape in his hands.
But he said they always come from his heart.
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