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Brothers in creating arms

Donahue Brothers

Sam and Max Donahue in the Iowa Valley Grinnell Gunsmith Technology lab.

GRINNELL – Some siblings can’t wait to go their separate ways. Brothers, Max and Sam Donahue can’t wait to work together, they are currently studying the same thing. They found that through the Iowa Valley Grinnell Gunsmith Technology program.

Max found the Iowa Valley Grinnell Gunsmith program first by researching programs online. He discovered that it was the only program in Iowa of its kind. “I have always been interested in Gunsmith,” commented Max. “The Grinnell program seemed like just what I was looking for and it was an easy choice since it was the only one in Iowa.” Max, the older of the two brothers, is now in his second year of the program.

Because of all the great experiences and how much he enjoyed the program, Max told his younger brother and encouraged him to look into it as well. “Through Max I got my foot in the door, but this is always something I have been interested in,” said Sam.

The unique combination of the Grinnell program allows the brothers to explore things that they are each interested in. While Sam is more interested in manufacturing and building firearms, Max prefers the stock refinishing and restoration aspect of the trade. “I like the idea of bringing firearms back to their former glory,” commented Max.

The fact that each brother enjoys a different aspect of Gunsmithing will help them in their ultimate goal, which is to convert their dad’s garage in Park Rapids, MN into a gun shop. The brothers dream of one day working together. Sam, the softer spoken of the two commented, “I guess I’ll work there too.”

In their 45-minute trip to school each day from Altoona, IA the brothers have plenty of time to talk about ideas, projects and their future. “It’s great having each other at the same school,” commented Max. “It’s fun going to school with Sam. I was out of school by the time he was a freshman. Now we are going to school for something that we both think is really cool. It’s awesome!”

Sam realizes that having a brother that he is close with is a benefit that he can use. “I ask for Max’s help all the time. He is a great resource for me.”

Both brothers had similar advice to those thinking about entering the program. Do the work and pay attention. Max said, “Some aspects are a little tougher or may not interest you as much as others but still do it. It will be useful to learn especially if you plan on having your own business.”

The brothers have enjoyed their time and education at Grinnell and are happy with their decision to attend. “The program has been great for me and why I recommended it to my brother and everyone else I know is interested in gunsmithing,” commented Max. “It’s an overall great program!” Both brothers commented how great Gunsmith Technology instructors Matt Ostrander and Dave Bennetts are for the program. “You can tell they know what they are doing and their experience in the field.”