Wasilla teacher's model submarine fetches $120K for charity

Published: Jul. 2, 2017 at 6:33 PM AKDT
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What do a Wasilla teacher, a former president, and a model submarine have in common?

For starters, their paths have been braided together, leading to a payoff of presidential proportions for a national charity.

David Baker, a special education teacher in Wasilla, was working with an eighth grade student two years ago to create a model submarine as a gift for former President Jimmy Carter.

"The student did build it all on his own," Baker said. "Never built one before, and it's now in President Carter's private office at the Carter Center."

That project has long been all wrapped up, but Baker was far from done.

With an estimated 100 hours of work, grainy blueprints and Cary Grant film 'Operation Petticoat' as reference, Baker built another model.

This time, the model was of a submarine on which President Carter served after World War II. The idea was to sell it or auction it off to raise money for charity.

And that it did, according to Baker.

Last Saturday Baker went to a charity auction in Tahoe for the Carter Center. Baker said he valued his work at a modest $1,000, simply adding up the cost of the materials he purchased for the project.

He got the surprise of his life when his model went up for bid.

"We were elated when it got to 15 (thousand dollars)," he said, "ecstatic when it got to 20. When it reached $30,000, the crowd started cheering."

However, like Baker, this auction wasn't done yet.

"It finally pegged out at $120,000 when the gavel banged, sold to a collector from China," Baker said.

That's $120,000 that Baker said he hopes will help combat tropical diseases, and maybe even spread peace throughout the world. He said he also has another model submarine that he plans to give to President Carter the next time he sees him.