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Father-daughter welding students forge bond in class

Tim and Tabitha Webb aren’t afraid to try new things.

“She said, ‘I want to do this welding thing, dad,’” Tim said. “And I was like, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’”

Tim spent more than 23 years in the Navy. Tabitha worked a variety of jobs after graduating from Moline High in 2012.

Now, they’re suiting up as the first father-daughter welding students at Midwest Technical Institute.

“It’s hard work,” Tabitha said. “It’s not easy.”

Sparks are flying in just their third day. They’ll be working side-by-side for the next nine months. They’re learning all the right moves to become journeyman welders.

“She’ll be prettier at the welding,” he said. “I’ll be better at the equations. We’ll get things done.”

It takes a lot of courage to try something new. Tabitha is helping to break barriers. Just four of the 50 welding students are women.

“If things aren’t perfect, I kick and scream,” she said. “I want to quit and give up. He’s like, ‘Nope, just keep going. You know you’re going to do it.”

Tim’s long military career took him all over the world but far away from his family.

“He was out to sea almost my whole life,” she said. “He was always gone.”

Welding is way to stay close to home and learn together.

“Tabitha had to take care of my wife and my son when I was deployed,” he recalled. “She’s been kind of my rock the whole time.”

While Tim and Tabitha work closely with instructor John Lucas, it’s the time they spend with each other that’s really special.

“I’ve always been a daddy’s girl,” she said. “It’s about time I get that time with my daddy.”

Dad is 45 and daughter is 20, but here there’s no generation gap.

“It’s going to be great for our relationship,” she said.

“We’re getting a lot closer,” Tim concluded. “So I enjoy that.”

They’ll be welding a lasting bond for this family connection.