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Wisconsin man restores woman’s beloved old rocking chair for free

Vince Filak paid $10 for the chair but felt he couldn’t keep it because it has so much sentimental value to the original owner
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 7:33 AM CDT
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REDGRANITE, Wis. (WMTV) - A Wisconsin man recently used his talent as a self-taught carpenter to do something nice for a complete stranger.

Vince Filak is a journalism professor at UW-Oshkosh, but in his free time he likes to restore old, worn down furniture. “It relaxes me and gets me out of my own head,” he said.

Vince Filak is a journalism professor at UW-Oshkosh but in his free time, he restores old...
Vince Filak is a journalism professor at UW-Oshkosh but in his free time, he restores old furniture as a hobby(Vince Filak)

He’s been doing restoration projects as a hobby for the past 15 years.

“My wife once told me ‘why don’t you do this for a career?’ and I said because then it would be work,” laughed Filak.

Filak was driving in Redgranite on Saturday, May 29th when he came across an estate sale. He found an old, beat up wooden rocking chair for sale. The leather seat was torn and had duct tape holding it together. The bones of the chair were in rough shape too.

But Filak decided the chair could be brought back to life. So, he paid $10 and loaded the chair into his truck.

Filak estimates the chair is at least 100 years old
Filak estimates the chair is at least 100 years old(Vince Filak)

“As I am loading into the truck, this older lady came by and said “I just want to say goodbye to my chair” and she put her hand on it,” said Filak. “And I just wanted to cry and I felt -- I don’t want to say guilty -- but it felt like I was taking her pet or something,”

The chair had sentimental value to the woman. “She told me her grandma practically lived in that chair so then I said yeah, this is important,” said Filak. “I’d probably put it at 100 years old, if I had to guess -- just how it’s constructed -- maybe a little older even,”

So Filak offered to refinish the chair for free and bring it back looking like new.

“She said, ‘you can do that?’ and I said ‘yeah, sure…’ and she got really excited about it,” said Filak.

Two days later, the chair was done and Filak drove from his home near Redgranite in Waushaura County to drop it back off with the woman.

“It was something that came together really easily, and it was something I really wanted to do because I wanted to see her look on her face when I got it done,”

Filak says it only took him two days to re-do the entire chair
Filak says it only took him two days to re-do the entire chair(Vince Filak)

Filak dropped the chair off and says the woman was stunned.

“It was so exciting to me because you could tell it was something that was important to her,” he said. “I was smiling all day because I did something for someone nice who is really going to enjoy it and appreciate it and really going to feel connected to it,”

The family offered to pay for the restoration, but Filak politely declined. “I told her I wanted this to be a gift,”

The chair looks as good as new!
The chair looks as good as new!(Vince Filak)

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