BIRTHDAY GIFT: Ashland Public Library Director Heather St.Clair (from left) receives a $200 donation from friends Liam Curtis, Peyton Groteluschen and Archer Ferguson, who donated their birthday cash to the library to help purchase a 3D printer. (Staff Photo by Suzi Nelson)

ASHLAND – Instead of getting presents for their birthdays, a trio of young friends gave a gift to the local library.

Peyton Groteluschen, Liam Curtis and Archer Ferguson donated $200 to the Ashland Public Library last week.

Library Director Heather St.Clair asked the boys what they would like her to do with the money. After a short huddle, the three said they’d like the money to go to the purchase of a three-dimensional printer for the library.

“That is something we’re looking at and that will definitely help with that,” said St.Clair.

The library had a 3-D printer on loan when they had a “Makerspace” for five months in 2018. Since then, it has been a goal to get a one for the library for keeps.

“Because we had one here, now we’re looking at making one permanent,” St.Clair said.

These three boys know what they’ll make once the library gets a 3D printer. Peyton said he’s going to make a dragon, dinosaur or phoenix. This fifth grader is very into magical creatures, he said.

Liam has a connection to a former player for the Jacksonville Jaguars professional football team, so he’d make a football helmet, he said.

At first, Archer wasn’t sure what he would make, but after he thought about it for a few minutes, he decided he’d make a gray wolf or a timber wolf, he said.

These three boys have been friends since they were little tikes.

Peyton and Liam, both fifth graders now, have been friends since they were three years old. Archer and Liam have been buddies since preschool.

Archer lives down the block from Peyton and their parents are good friends.

“At school we became pretty good friends,” said Peyton, even though Archer is a year younger.

The boys share August birthdays, another connection for the trio. Archer’s was Aug. 11, while Peyton will celebrate turning 11 on Aug. 23 and Liam will do the same three days later.

The only thing the boys really wanted for their birthday this year was the opportunity to hang out together, they said. Their parents rented the city swimming pool and they held a pool party for the boys.

“It said on the invitation we wanted money or a donation to the library,” Peyton said.

The idea to donate their gifts came about when they learned the library was raising money for the 3D printer, something none of them have used before.

“I’ve never seen a 3D printer,” Peyton said.

Having a sophisticated piece of equipment like a 3D printer would put Ashland on the map, said Liam.

“There’s not much towns in Nebraska that have a 3D printer,” he said.

The three friends also share a love of building and making things.

“We’re craftsmen and builders,” said Peyton and Archer.

“They like to put things together,” said Petyon’s mom, Savanna Groteluschen.

Peyton makes landscapes for the dragons and mythical beasts he conjures up, setting them up in battle scenes. He and his dad built a deer feeder in the back yard last week.

Archer has teamed up with his dad to build a bike rack in their garage, and ramps for his bike. He also built a Pinewood Derby car when he was a Boy Scout and a track for the car.

Liam has built a tool box and made a wooden toy to decorate the grave of his brother, Calvin, at Ashland Cemetery.

Peyton and Archer sometimes work on projects together using Legos and old cardboard boxes. Recently, they took used fireworks containers, deemed safe by their parents, and built a town.

Archer also likes to take things apart, he said.

“Peyton and I took apart the play set in my backyard,” he said.

The boys are also into sports, playing flag football in a Wahoo league and practicing the sport every day during recess time at school.

“It’s quite competitive,” remarked Liam.

When they’re not building things, taking them apart or playing football or other sports, these boys may be found at the library.

“It has fun activities to do and it has computers and good books,” said Peyton.

Archer said he enjoys listening to audio books and Liam is also a fan of the library, he said.

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