You might say Paul Boratko never grew up.
The 38-year-old Johnstown man works in auto body repair during the day, but at night he builds Lego cars.
Boratko’s creations are not exactly “toys,” however.
His cars are highly technical – built with the help of a friend in California who is an aeronautical engineer.
“I am more of a hands-on guy,” Boratko said.
In the world of Lego enthusiasts, Boratko is a celebrity of sorts. A website dedicated to his creations has followers around the world. He has been featured in AutoTrends Magazine.
He also has entered some of his designs on a Lego site that allows the public to vote on the entries. Those receiving 10,000 votes are considered by the company as ones to be made into kits and sold to the public.
“It would be cool to walk through Toys R Us and you see your name on the (box),” Boratko said. “It could become a reality.”
His hobby isn’t for pleasure alone. One of his designs, a car he calls the Vampire GT, is being auctioned through eBay. With bids this morning reaching $700, Boratko hopes the car will raise $1,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The car is also one of the entries on the Lego voting site.
“I knew that this was the best one that I have done,” Boratko said.
The money raised through the auction, which runs through Saturday, will go to the organization’s local chapter.
It was an encounter at a Lego trade show that convinced Boratko to do something for charity.
“I saw a gentleman come up to me with a young boy,” he recalled. “The kid kept whispering to his father.”
The boy had seen the Boratko creations on a website and was thrilled to meet him.
The father eventually asked if Boratko would be willing to have his picture taken with the boy holding one of the cars.
After the photo was taken, the father thanked him.
“He said, ‘Today is my son’s 21st birthday,’ ” Boratko said.
That was when he realized that the boy had physical problems.
“I thought he was about 12. It was very, very humbling.”
Boratko returned home and told his wife that he wanted to do something for charity.
Amanda Boratko, who often accompanies her husband to trade shows, said she is extremely proud of his talents.
“I love watching him create something from nothing,” she said. “The way he figures out how to put so many functions in the car, like a working engine and transmission, still blows my mind.”
For information, go to: http://www.crowkillers.com.
You might say Paul Boratko never grew up.
- Local News
‘Elvis’ to rock Arcadia
Elvis Presley impersonator Scot Bruce will present a concert in the style of pre-Vegas Elvis at 7:30 p.m. March 22 at Arcadia Theater, 1418 Graham Ave., Windber.
Community can share Passover meal
Few meals can match the symbolism and ceremony associated with a Jewish seder dinner. The Johnstown congregation has made it a practice for more than a decade to open the seder to the public, and the dinner has grown to be quite popular with the non-Jewish community.
Munching at movies can benefit cancer society
The phrase “pass the popcorn” will have a special meaning on March 19 as theatergoers at Richland Cinemas partake of the tasty treat.
Marathon will trace path of 1889 flood
The Johnstown Area Heritage Association is seeking participants for its Path of the Flood Historic Half Marathon and 5K race.
Educator to receive NOW award
The Johnstown chapter of the National Organization for Women plans to honor a prominent local educator and musician at its annual banquet March 27.
MICHELE M. BENDER | What happened to Christmas?
Headaches rarely bother me. I always felt sorry for folks trapped in the Advil/Dristan web.
I woke up at 4 a.m. Dec 17 with a headache that probably registered on a Richter scale. (People in New Zealand experienced aftershocks.)
BILL EGGERT | Going home can sometimes be only walking distance
One of the most popular topics during my eight years of writing this column is the one of looking into the past of the Johnstown (and my areas of Moxham and Richland) of my childhood. A lot of baby boomers relate to these time trips with a sense of nostalgia, remembering a kinder, simpler, more innocent era. Or at least that is the way we remember our childhood, looking through those rose-colored glasses.
In brief: 2 people killed in Somerset Co. crash
A fatal two-vehicle accident occurred in Milford Township around noon on Saturday.
- District Deaths March 9, 2014
Customers shocked by electric bills
When a third-party power generation supplier tempted Robin Hagins with a low rate in 2012, it was too good to pass up.
Then, this winter, temperatures plummeted. And the Upper Yoder Township woman’s electric bill seemed to rise just as fast.
- More Local News Headlines
- ‘Elvis’ to rock Arcadia