BETHALTO – James Woody, affectionately known as "Woody," has always had a knack for building. From starting his construction business right out of high school to now enjoying his days watching the ongoing renovations at Cedarhurst of Bethalto, Woody's life has been deeply intertwined with the world of construction.

James Woody is a Difference Maker for the region.

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Woody began his career in construction because, as he puts it, "I needed a job. Construction was all I knew. My dad taught me everything I know."

This early training set the stage for a lifetime of hard work and dedication. Despite the challenges of fluctuating economies and the pressures of meeting payroll, Woody persevered. "There were up and down times; some years were good, and some were bad. The 1970s were not very good, and the 1980s were better," he recalls.

Running Woody Construction, first established as Witt and Woody Construction in 1961, and later solely under his name, Woody built not just homes but a legacy of trust and integrity. With his wife, Dorris, managing the books and offering financial advice, Woody Construction thrived for 40 years.

The couple's partnership in business mirrored their commitment to community and family, with Dorris also dedicating 50 years to teaching Sunday school at the First Baptist Church.

Now retired, Woody finds joy in observing the renovation projects at Cedarhurst of Bethalto. "I just like to watch construction. There are always new techniques. The automation of it is fascinating," he says. This connection to his past work brings back fond memories and a sense of continuity. "Most of the techniques are new, and now there is more machinery to do the work. Engineering is far more advanced than it used to be," he notes.

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Despite the advancements in technology and changes in the workforce, Woody believes the core values of good craftsmanship remain unchanged.

"You need to like your job!," he said. "Whatever you do, you need to like it. Employers see when someone is not interested in the job.

"A worker needs to be on time and truthful. One lie can lead to another lie," he advises.

Woody's dedication to his workers was profound.

"I have even bailed a worker out of jail once because I felt sorry for him because he couldn’t pay for a set of tires," he said. "If the workers took care of me, I took care of them," he shared.

As Cedarhurst of Bethalto continues its renovation, Woody's presence is a testament to the enduring spirit of craftsmanship and community. His stories and observations offer a bridge between past and present, highlighting the evolution of the construction industry while underscoring timeless principles of hard work, honesty, and passion.

If you have an idea for a Difference Maker story, e-mail news@riverbender.com, attention Dan Brannan, Riverbender.com Content Director.

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