Trevor Saulsberry, (left) is assisted by sister Payten in their dad Lee’s woodshop in Datil. Various woods such as padauk, mahogany, and heartwood are glued together to make the cutting boards. Photos courtesy of Shelby Saulsberry

There is a youngster in Catron County who, in his own way, is quietly making a difference in the lives of friends and neighbors in the community of Datil.

Nine-year-old Trevor Saulsberry, son of Shelby and Lee Saulsberry, along with help from his five-year-old sister Payten, has turned a one-time hobby of making cutting boards into a philanthropic enterprise.

Trevor’s mom, Shelby, said it was his brainchild to make and sell cutting boards to help others. It all started when Trevor was all of seven-years-old.

“My dad, Steve Mills, was making cutting boards,” she said. “He gave them the idea to collect and crushed cans to provide a little money, and that led to the cutting boards. It was Trevor’s idea to donate the money from sales to people who needed it.”

Their first big donation was through Ag Country Propane in Quemado. Shelby had worked for Ag Country Propane for several years, “and they had a fund where people could donate through an account for people who needed help with paying their propane bills. Part of their bill could be paid out of that.”
Cutting Board

With the money they had saved up by selling cutting boards and crushed cans, Trevor and his little sister Payten ended

Completed cutting boards ready to be sold by Trevor Saulsberry (right) and sister Payten. The final step involves preserving the wood with cooking oil.

up donating over $1,000 to that fund.

“Ever since then we have been making cutting boards and they are beautiful,” she said. “They sell them for $35 and we add tags to say what it’s going for.”

More recently donations have been going to a variety of causes.

“He, last year, and then this last week donated a cord of wood to a couple of families,” Shelby said. “There’s been a couple of families whose houses have burned. They donated cutting board money for those families.”

Other cutting board sales have been donated to the EMTs of the Datil Volunteer Fire Department, and Trevor once bought ice cream for every student at Datil Elementary School during a field trip a couple of years ago.

“There was a couple of kids at the school last year who weren’t able to get new shoes or new pants for the school year. You know, all the first of the year type stuff,” Shelby said. “Trevor donated a bag full of new clothing and shoes for them.

“A lot of times he comes up, on with on his own, where to donate,” she said. “He sees people out there that really don’t have that luxury of being able to get things they want or things they need.
Cuttiong Boards Trevor

Trevor at the workbench.

Trevor at the workbench.

“He says, ‘we need to help them,’ and that, in itself, in both of the kids, makes us feel good,” Shelby said. “Knowing we are doing the right thing, you know? It makes us feel good that they see where it’s helpful. And know that there are people out there who need help.”

The boards are fashioned out of padauk, mahogany, heartwood, and others.

“We start by cutting oak boards in half on the table saw,” Trevor says. “Then we glue them back together with a strip of colored wood, like purpleheart. We cut them into smaller boards, then we router them, then we sand them two times. Next, we drill a hole in them, then we brand them with my livestock brand. Last we finish them off with cooking oil.”

Trevor’s dad, Lee Saulsberry, helps out by working the table saw and doing the routing, and then the kids take over.

“It drives me crazy some days, but you know, when I see what they’ve done and see who they’re helping it makes me happy,” Shelby said.

She estimates Trevor has produced over 200 12″x12″x1″ cutting boards over the last two years.

It takes three to four hours to complete one board from start to finish.

“I have seen similar cutting boards sell for twice the $35 asking price,” one customer said.