William "Billy" Loew Jr., of Downe Township, is starting his career in welding, after learning the trade at the Cumberland County Technical Education Center.

As an apprentice at Millville's Northeast Precast, the 2013 Cumberland Regional High School graduate will help create the interior supports for concrete highway sections and learn to repair the underbodies of 18-wheelers, he said.

But Loew also is an artist with his welding torch.

He recently won first place in Kansas City, Mo., in the national SkillsUSA contest in welded sculpture. He competed against 40 other statewide champions and those from Guam and Puerto Rico.

"I did a project about my whole childhood, called 'Born and Raised,'" he said. "I have always hunted and fished."

So he depicted a large-mouth bass jumping at a dragonfly, and a white-tailed deer pondside with a tree. Doug Bonner, Loew's instructor of welding at the technical education center, and SkillsUSA adviser Andre Lopez helped prepare him, as did his father, Bill, who is a welder with Landis Fire Protection in Vineland.

Loew slowly sculpted the figures, building up the steel in some areas and grinding it down in others, using specialized tools. He put fur on the deer, etching it with a dremel tool. The entire scene is about 12-by-17 inches, he said.

He made countless leaves for a tree, he said, and created milo plants for the landscape.

All that work probably didn't help him get his job, though, he said.

"(Employers) just want to see how strong your welds are, and what they look like," he said.

New hospital board chair

Ellen Kravet Burke is the new chair of the board of trustees of Cape Regional Health System, a hospital spokesperson said, replacing Henry Brzyski, who completed his term in June.

A former teacher in Ventnor, she is executive vice president of Kravet Inc., a family-owned fabric and furniture business founded by her great-grandfather in 1918. She has served on the board since 2006.

Guardian Angel award

Nurse Alyson Raychart is Shore Medical Center's July 2013 Guardian Angel of the Month, recognized by patients with a donation to the hospital.

Raychart, of Absecon, joined Shore's telemetry department in May. She is a recent graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Stratford, Middlesex County, with a bachelor of science in nursing.

Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:

609-272-7219