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Retiree builds dollhouses for underprivileged kids

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EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. -- You can't put a price on a child's happiness.

That's why an Excelsior Springs carpenter provides dollhouses for underprivileged kids at no cost. When the sawdust flies, acts of generosity rise from his basement.

80-year old Earl Hurshman says he's been a skilled carpenter all his life, and now, his talent serves as a gift to others.  Everyday, Hershman visits the grave of his late wife,  Bernadette, which is where he got an idea.

"It was like a lightning strike," Hurschman said. "I could hear her saying it -- "get off your behind and do something."

So, Earl started his mission as a Grandpa Helping Grandparents, an initiative that quickly expanded to helping entire families in need. He buys and builds dollhouses, and donates them to families of underprivileged children.

Earl spends every afternoon painting and putting the store bought kits together, which cost about $200 apiece.

"I see so many times when grandparents are raising their grandchildren from broken homes and just barely getting by," Hurschman said.

"I thank him, and I thank the Lord every day for bringing him into our lives," Craig Beasley said. "He's pretty much my second dad."

Beasley's two daughters received one of ten dollhouses Earl gave away last Christmas. Beasley says he was recently laid off from his job, and money's been very tight.

"I like the dollhouse," six-year old Gracie Beasley said. "(I liked to) decorate it."

The cost of building and donating the dollhouses comes out of Earl's own pockets -- either from his social security checks or donations from the general public. He says that without his kindness, some of these children wouldn't have a childhood.

"It's what we do between the cradle and the grave that makes a difference. We're born to die.

And while he's alive, Earl intends to make children smile.

Earl Hurshman will have his dollhouses on display at the Good Samaritan Center in Excelsior Springs this weekend as part of Waterfest.

Hurschman is in need of donations -- mostly in the form of dollhouse kits, which can be purchased at hobby stores. He's asked us to share his phone number (816) 630-5334

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