Back in the day when J. David Donahue was commissioner at the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC), a 16-foot table came to life that will be remembered and used on many occasions.
I am speaking of the conference table for the Governor’s Office, which Donahue, being the head of the organization that made it, was quick to praise:
A true work of art. This table will be enjoyed by State and National leaders for years to come. The DOC is honored to have been responsible for its creation.
While it is not false that the IDOC is responsible for this masterpiece, everyone at the correctional facility agreed that the parquet table deserved a more detailed history, hence the short write-up entitled Indiana Offenders and Westville Correctional Facility Staff Collaborate on Conference Table for Governor’s Office:
The 16-foot long structure was designed by a small group of offenders and staff from the Westville Correctional Facility and is made of wood from trees grown on the facility grounds. Several years ago the trees, which include cherry, tulip, poplar, black walnut and white pine were cut down to improve visibility and security. Much of the wood was turned in to mulch. However, the best pieces were milled, dried and preserved in speculation that a project worthy of their use would arise someday.
The elaborate parquet top is fashioned with puzzle like intricacy and displays the Seal of Indiana, the State Flag and the State of Indiana with each county carved out of a separate piece of wood.
Eight offenders and Alex McEathron, a long-time employee of the Westville Carpentry shop and the wizard behind this laborious miracle, took 2,000 man-hours over the course of six months to bring this 900 lb, $625 structure with its 92 jagged counties to completion.
It replaced the old conference table for the Governor’s Office, which ex-commissioner Donahue described as, “rickety and in need of major repairs.”