Hobbies can become a way to relax and bring joy to life.
This is true for Caleb Bolton who founded Firehouse Creations as a way to highlight the service of his profession and practice philanthropy.
Bolton, 35, said he has loved serving as a firefighter on the Farmington Fire Department for almost 10 years. After being named Firefighter of the Year in 2017, he said he was honored because he values his fellow firefighters and the camaraderie and the community.
“It meant a lot but once I got it even though it was really a title, but today I still want to have the best call volumes and be the best with volunteering but my job takes a toll with my work schedule,” Bolton said.
His cottage business Firehouse Creations is a way for Bolton to give back, just like firefighting, but working with his hands to make others happy with gifts and projects. His wooden flag wall art has been donated to silent auctions, monasteries, foundations and area fire department fundraisers.
A large wooden Red Line Firefighters Flag wall art was auctioned off this month at the Turkey Bingo benefit for the Farmington Fire Department. Bolton also crafted a wine bottle and goblet holder for the silent auction.
For the flag wall art, he uses maple and knotty alder wood because the rustic look is popular today in home interior design. His father and brother have pitched in with their experience in metal fabrication and painting. A friend Jill Hoffman of Lakeville has also become a partner since she does laser engraving for his projects.
In 2012 Bolton began making cabinets and designed kitchen cutting boards that sold well.
The hobby that he said he finds therapeutic grew into Firehouse Creations, a business name chosen by friends and family on a social media naming contest.
“A couple years ago I started making stuff for people I knew and then I began making flags,” Bolton said. He crafted pallet wall art for a wedding party, built stove top covers and a grill cover for ice houses.
His latest flag wall art creation will be his 35th. Today he is busy putting the finishing touches on a Prisoner of War flag and a Canadian flag as commissioned pieces.
Bolton said there are official commemorative flags for each branch of public safety.
“The thin red line flag is for firefighters, the blue is for police, green is for military and white is for EMS (Emergency Medical Services),” he said.
The Thin Red Line flag has become a symbol used by fire departments to show respect for firefighters injured and killed in the line of duty.
This April Bolton began working full-time as a firefighter at Pine Bend Refinery in Rosemount. In this high intensity job, he has been able to delve into the fire service profession and refined his skills in rope and confined space training, hazardous materials and broaden his knowledge in the areas of alarm panels and fire extinguishers.
Bolton has expressed interest in working full-time for Farmington Fire Department when the opportunity arises. For now, he is gaining valuable on-the-job training. He took the Fire Inspector 1 class and his state certification exam in the past week as he anxiously awaits the test results.
When asked if firefighting runs in his blood, Bolton said he found out his maternal grandfather served as a volunteer firefighter for several years. “That was when they had old gear and it was real rough and tough stuff,” Bolton said.
Firehouse Creations has taken a back burner though in the past six months since he works 24-hour shifts while continuing to serve on Farmington Fire Department.
Bolton encourages anyone who is curious to come to a meeting and find out more about the fire service.
He said he loves the sense of belonging and community he gets from serving on the fire department.
“I love it and have not looked back since,” Bolton said.
Some of his custom Firehouse Creations pieces are being sold at Gerster Jewelers in downtown Farmington. Bolton is grateful for this business opportunity and exposure inside this jewelry business that is ready to celebrate 100 years in Farmington.
Connect with Firehouse Creations on social media or email the designer and owner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I like to turn the radio on and tinker around in the garage,” Bolton said, adding how he is eternally grateful to his wife Missy for giving up the garage space to accommodate his woodworking hobby.