By LISA BICKNELL
CV&T News Editor
G.T. Embry is one of three high school team members that will be competing in a national welding competition next week.
At the urging of their welding instructor, three students from Kentucky-Tech/Madison County Area Technology center agreed to participate in the SkillsUSA state competition as a team.
G.T. Embry, son of Michelle Powell and a recent graduate of Estill County High School, is a part of the team that competed against 14 other high school welding teams and won in the welding fabrication category.
On June 19 and 20, G.T. and his teammates, Korey Cochran and Kimball Foley, will be heading to Louisville to compete in nationals. They will battle it out against teams from all fifty states.
They know their work is cut out for them, but they have been training hard. Although the boys graduated from high school about a month ago, the three continue to meet to practice almost every day, from 10 or 11 a.m. in the morning, until 11 or 12 at night, according to G.T.
They already know what their assignment will be at nationals. They will have six and a half hours to design and build a welding table from a pile of metal pieces. With that time limit, it’s a tough assignment, said G.T.
Following their state win, each of the three boys received a $5,000 scholarship to be used to further their education in welding.
However, G.T. says he already has the necessary certifications and skills for the full-time job lined up and waiting for him at Hyster and Yale Corporation in Berea once the national competition is over.
His team and his instructor, Tim Pinson, have come to mean a lot to G.T. Last year in November, G.T. became ill with a stomach bug that affected the bottom of his heart and caused him to have a heart attack at the age of 17.
G. T. was in ICU for four days, Michelle said, but thankfully, there was no permanent damage to his heart. She remembers Mr. Pinson coming to the hospital and sitting with her son while he was so sick.
Although Pinson has his caring side, G. T. says he cuts them no slack when it comes to working in the shop.
Michelle also credits Jesse Puckett, owner of a local body shop, for leading G.T. down the path to becoming a welder. She said Puckett taught her son his first weld.
The team has been hard at work to earn the money to pay their way to the competition. Finding the scrap metal to practice their project has also been a challenge, but they’ve had some donations.
G.T. and his team members haven’t even taken the time to find out what the prize is for national winners as they prepare for competition. They are too busy honing their skills in the shop.
“I enjoy it,” said G.T. “It’s something I’m pretty good at.” He also looks forward to making a “pretty good living” with his skills.
He’s quick to point out that he has no interest in welding as an art form though.
“I’m not into art,” he said. “If it can’t be built and used every day, I’m not interested.”