Man laid off due to virus, begins selling custom birdhouses

KLAMATH FALLS — A young man, who is deaf, was laid off because of coronavirus. Now he is practicing a new skill by building birdhouses.

After getting laid off because of coronavirus, Keith Helit began building birdhouses. But he never expected them to be in such high demand.

“He loves putting these things together,” Teena Estep, guardian, said.

Estep posted the birdhouses on Facebook. They run $15 apiece. She says the response was overwhelming.

“Every time I looked at Facebook, there were more people who wanted them or someone with a private message and I was blown away,” Estep said.

Keith had only built just over 20 birdhouses and within no time, they sold out with over 200 more requests for his custom work.

“He was so excited every time we opened Facebook, we would show him and he would just laugh and laugh,” Estep said.

Keith is deaf and has a mental disability making it difficult for him to function without structure.

“This young man has so much inside him. He is the happiest, most vibrant young man,” Estep said.

Building the birdhouses gave him just that.

“For me to see him coming out like this and really prospering and growing, that was my goal from the get-go,” Estep said.

Keith is saving up money to buy a new phone after his last one broke. Just this weekend he built another 40 birdhouses.

Anna Weeks is the anchor of NBC5 News at 5 and 11 and Your Place @7 with Anna Weeks. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Oregon State University with a degree in Digital Communication Arts and a minor in writing. Previously, she interned with the National Association of Broadcasters at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Originally from the Portland area, Anna loves exploring Southern Oregon. In her free time, she enjoys reading, running, and watching sports.
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