Who: Dean Pederson
Where: Valley City, N. Dak.
Moxie Measure: During the Vietnam War, a hand grenade cost Dean Pedersen his sight. When he returned home, he briefly considered other careers before deciding to pursue his dream job: carpentry. "There's something very satisfying about restoring an old treasure to its former beauty," he says. Now in his 39th year as owner of Pedersen Wood Craft, Dean's work would put carpenters with 20/20 vision to shame. Using a combination of tried-and-true templates and special tools, such as a talking tape measure and a table saw that shuts down when it comes into contact with human skin, Dean builds and restores everything from rocking chairs to the fireplace mantel he refinished for his son, Matthew. An assistant stains each piece, but Dean handles construction, sanding, and hand varnishing by himself. "My father is a legend in this town," Matthew says.