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INDEPENDENCE – “Christmas came early for the Independence industrial technology department!” said Trish O’Loughlin, industrial tech instructor at the Independence Jr/Sr High School. “A very generous donation of power tools was recently received from Milwaukee Tool.”

Based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation has been in business since 1924.

After spotting social media stories about tool donations, local supporters prompted members of the Industrial Tech Department to seek their own donation.

O’Loughlin called upon some special help from a former student, her daughter Annie (O’Loughlin) Stewart. Stewart happens to be a project leader in the engineering department at Milwaukee Tool.

“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to take classes from Mr. Bare, Mr. Stahr, and my mom, Mrs. O’, while at IHS,” said Stewart. “The hands-on experience I gained through their classes has continued to help me through my career as a mechanical engineer at multiple companies. It is impressive that the Independence community continues to invest in such a high-quality curriculum that isn’t available in many districts.”

The donation included a contractor’s table saw, right angle drills, regular drills, drill drivers, grinders, a multi-tool, cement drills, portable bandsaws, a battery-powered nail gun, a miter saw stand, a power caulk gun, and a power grease gun.

According to O’Loughlin, the tools have already been put to use in the automotive classes, with the robotics team, in the metals/machining area, and in the building trades class.

“The opportunity to have such professional-quality tools to work with has been very exciting for the students and the instructors,” she said, adding, “and as industrial technology teachers, we are constantly looking for ways to partner with industry leaders to remain up to date on the latest technologies. We are very grateful to Milwaukee Tool for supporting our programming in this way.”

The building trades class is currently working on a project at the corner of 5th Street and 3rd Avenue SE (Highway 150).

“Milwaukee Tool is committed to helping schools who take an active role in training future tradespeople,” said O’Loughlin.