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Retired Md. police officer wins ‘LEGO Masters: Holiday Bricktacular’

Mel Brown, who previously worked for the Annapolis and Seat Pleasant police departments, leads STEM-based LEGO challenges for his local Boys & Girls Club


By Rebecca Ritzel
The Capital

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Actor-turned-game show host Will Arnett called it “A Christmas miracle.”

Mel Brown, a retired police officer who now directs the Bywater Boys & Girls Club and lives in Glen Burnie, won Tuesday night’s challenge on the Fox television show “LEGO Masters: Holiday Bricktacular.”

“It feels great,” Brown said. He collapsed to his knees when judge Amy Corbett, a senior design manager at the LEGO company, announced that he won Tuesday night’s challenge: Building a LEGO sleigh that not only held 320 pounds, it looked cool too.

“Fantastic job,” Corbett said of Brown’s sleigh, with the theme, “Rocket Around the Christmas Tree.” Before it finally cracked under the pressure of 340 pounds of toys, the red, gray and white sled was about 5 feet long and featured yellow runners with LEGO rocket boosters extending off the back.

“You’ve created an awesome build that was packed full of holiday cheer,” Corbett said, adding that a Santa logo on the side captured “how fun and wild you guys are as a team.”

Brown’s celebrity partner on the show, which was prerecorded, is the late actor and comedian Leslie Jordan, who was killed in an October car accident. A spokesperson for Fox said the actor’s appearance on “LEGO Masters Bricktacular” marks one of Jordan’s final television appearances. He’s most famous for his role on the sitcom “Will and Grace,” and upheld as a gay icon for his AIDS activism and coming out when many actors were afraid to.

Three other celebrities competing in the three-episode event are actress Cheryl Hines, “Saturday Night Live” alum Finesse Mitchell and singer Robin Thicke, who described himself as “having a midlife crisis.”

Before appearing on “LEGO Masters” Jordan said his experience with the Danish-made plastic toys was, “None. Zero. Zilch.”

That didn’t faze an experienced builder like Brown. Two years ago, Brown lost the weight-bearing challenge while competing on the first season of “LEGO Masters.” Ever since, he’s been practicing in the “LEGO room” at his home in Glen Burnie, and at the Boys & Girls Club, where he leads STEM-based LEGO challenges. The rewarding second career as the Bywater club director follows his work for both the Annapolis and Seat Pleasant police departments.

“Getting a chance to see Mel back in the brick room was like seeing family again,” said judge Jamie Bedard, who has worked for LEGO for almost two decades. “He’s not only a gifted builder, but he’s also a great guy with a big heart. I think people are just going to love rooting for him and his celebrity brick mate as they put their creativity to the test.”

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