MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An Edina man suffered a severe stroke in 2006, and now, after years of therapy, he is ready to take on a project he planned to do in retirement: build a boat.

With the help of his family and caregiver, Jim Baker is building a sail boat in his garage.

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Baker, who now has trouble with language, works on the boat at least once a week with his caregiver, Greg Schaffner. In the production of the vessel, each knows the other’s capabilities.

“Everything that he can possibly do, I want him to do without my help at all,” Schaffner said. “Every once in a while there’s something I just have to do, and … then [Baker] supervise(s).”

To appreciate how remarkable Baker’s boat-building is, one has to know how bad things were after his stroke. The picture below was taken by Baker’s son, a professional photographer who moved his business from the west coast to Minnesota, so that he could help his dad. His name is Tom.

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(credit: Tom Baker)

“Every stroke is different,” Tom Baker said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get throughout the whole process, and that’s what the doctors have told us. But as far as the progress he’s made, doctors and therapists have been quite impressed.”

It may take Jim a year or more to complete his boat, but he is determined. He also has some experience boat-building; last year, he built a row boat.

Baker’s wife, Barb Baker, said that he gives people hope and inspiration.

“And I think when you know Jim’s story, and you see what he’s accomplished, it gives all of us a lot of hope, a lot of inspiration, a lot of spirit,” she said.

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If you would like to help Minnesotans like Baker who have suffered from strokes, visit the Minnesota Stroke Association.