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Repair Café group fixes broken items in Cary

CARY, N.C. -- What’s that old phrase? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?

Don Fick and his friends understand that perfectly.

“I think the one thing they all share is the experience of seeing something on the curb, something being thrown away and they go, 'That's still got good life in it,’” Fick said.

Right as Fick says that, a foam dart from a Nerf gun whizzes by his head.

“So, uh, the Nerf gun works,” he says, with a chuckle.

Fick and his friends run a group called the Repair Café. Once a month or so, they set up shop at the Cary Arts Center and welcome folks with things that need some work.

“People who have items that are not functioning correctly or clothing that's damaged in some way and they need assistance in finding a way to fix it,” says Fick. “Maybe they don't have the tools or don't have the know-how. We have people here with a variety of experience -- nobody's a professional.”

But they are awfully handy. Caitlyn Hill manages the computer servers at Duke University by day but loves coming to use her fix-it skills at the Repair Café.

“I try very hard to exemplify that Jack-of-all-trades with the acknowledgment of it comes with that master of none part,” Hill said.

“It's like a puzzle,” said Tom Karches, as he works on fixing a CD player. “I work with software during the day, which is ethereal and when I do this, I've got my hands in stuff and I can tweak things and turn things.”

They can’t fix everything but the do fix most of it -- to the thrill of the folks who bring it in.

“I think sometimes there's a lot of chaos in your life and so, in a small way, you get to take control over that, fix the thing that's broken, restore some function to it and get some more use out of that,” Fick said.

See the team in action in this edition of the Buckley Report.