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Tidewater wooden boat workshop instills life skills

Retired Marine Tom Brandl stood on the shore of the Elizabeth River rallying his troops.

"You don't have to worry," he said to the adolescents clad in flip-flops and life vests that were growing sticky in the late summer heat.

A few looked doubtful. They'd spent the summer learning about power drills, Japanese saws and chisels - tools that helped them create the two polished skiffs before them.

"You've done a great job in building these," Brandl said.

Most of the kids had never held a nail before June.

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