Best friends make bird feeders as gifts for
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Two friends, Del Byford and Pat Sharp, have
found a way to be both creative and generous.
“We couldn’t afford birthday and Christmas gifts so about five
years ago we started making feeders and bird houses as gifts,”
Now they are very busy completing bird houses and feeders to be
used in “October Fest” set for Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Cedar
Creek Church of God, Gun Barrel City.
Visitors to the July Fest (July 2) in Gun Barrel City got a good
look at several styles of birdhouses they have made.
Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Pat Sharp (left) and Del Byford show off a Dallas Cowboy bird
house they made, complete with a Cowboy helmet and a lone star
on the white and blue back ground.
“We are doing this for our (church) building fund,” Sharp
said, explaining the church’s plan to expand at its present
In addition to giving the items to the church, they also donate
to Special Olympics.
“We love doing this,” Sharp said.
“Del does most of the birdhouses in state outlines and then he
cuts out a small state bird and puts it on the house,” she said.
Sharp paints the state bird and the state flower, giving them
beautiful, realistic coloring.
So far, they have made bird houses for 16 of the 50 states,
including: Texas and Oklahoma, of course, Arkansas, Maine, Ohio,
Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana, Indiana, Alabama, North and
South Carolina, Nebraska, Colorado and New Mexico.
“This is something we can do to help with our share of the
donations,” Sharp adds.
Then showing her spirit and sense of humor, she laughs at her
“This is not really a business, it’s a way for me and Delbert to
stay busy and keep off the streets.”
“However, we do sell them to individuals where we can. We
usually earn just enough to buy more wood and supplies,” she
added on a more serious note.
The couple are best friends and companions and they each have a
serious problem that has put them both in wheel chairs.
But neither Sharp nor Byford lets their situation affect their
ability to love God and to be productive.
Both face crippling ailments that they refuse to give in to.
Byford has Multiple Sclerosis. He was diagnosed with the disease
“Before the disease put me in a wheel chair I was able to do a
lot of things,” he said.
Then as the problem wore on he was unable to do things the way
he used to.
“Then I found out I could do things like the cutting and
shaping. I really do enjoy it,” Byford explained.
Sharp has an inherited condition from birth called CMT.
CMT, or Charcot-Marie- Tooth disease, is a neurological
disorder, named after the three physicians who first described
it in 1886.
CMT is not caused by anything a person does and it isn’t
CMT usually isn’t life threatening and it almost never affects
But it does cause damage to the peripheral nerves and
neuropathy, muscle weakness and wasting, including some loss of
sensation, mostly in the extremities of the body such as the
hands and feet.
Although her hands are twisted into permanent fists, Sharp is
the one who does the painting and a lot of it is very intricate
work, as she details in the feathers, beaks and eyes of the
Sharp and Byford enjoy the company of neighbors and friends who
often come over just to enjoy watching them work.
Nils Peterson is just such a friend. And his wife, Candy, likes
to crochet and make gifts too.
Byford has three grown sons.
Sharp’s son, Todd, and his wife, Kim, own Sharp Construction.
Her younger son, David, is the manager.