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George

During his career, George carved out a reputation as a troubleshooter. A role that likely started on the Normandy beaches during D-day. After George retired, he tackled woodcarving with the same determination. So, when George and his wife moved to Shannondell, it didn’t take long for his reputation as a master carver to spread. The only problem, George didn’t have a space to hone his hobby. Enter Shannondell management. Today, the Shannondell woodcarving studio is home to dozens of residents and staff who are not only learning to carve, but also winning awards. All thanks to the inspiration of George.
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Q:
I hear your artistic talents may have surfaced during World War II, when you were recuperating from a wound shortly after the D-day invasion. Tell me about that.

George:
I guess I just got bored after spending months in hospitals. I started “doodling” and drew some sketches of MacArthur, Eisenhower and Roosevelt. They were okay, but I never seemed to find the time to explore it further.

Q:
Until you retired, right?

George:
Yeah, my neighbor was a painter, and he encouraged me to give it a try. But it wasn’t until my son started carving decoys and got me to join him that I really developed a passion for creating things.

Q:
So when you and your wife started looking at retirement communities, were you looking for a place you could continue to carve?

George:
Not really. I mean there were other things we were looking for, like access to quality health care and lots of activities, and, of course, nice people. We looked at nine communities in all (laughing). Our children told us we were making a second career out of our search. The search paid off though. None compared to quality and details you find at Shannondell. Moving here was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.

Q:
So when were you planning on carving again?

George:
One day, Shannondell’s C.E.O. knocked on my door and asked me the same thing. I told him I needed a dedicated space, so we carved out, pardon the pun, room in one of the Arts & Crafts rooms. That humble beginning led to what is now the Shannondell Woodcarving Studio, and also includes two large glass cabinets in the clubhouses that display Shannondell residents’ carvings and ribbons many have won in competitions.

Q:
So, you not only fueled your own passion, but also inspired others to grab a knife?

George:
Residents look at our work and say, “I wish I could do that.” So, I tell them if they can peel a potato, they can carve. Many times that’s all it takes.

Q:
From looking at all the great wildlife carvings in the display cabinets, I’d say it’s working.

George:
Thanks. It’s gratifying to see my neighbors, including several Shannondell staff members, beaming with pride when they put the finishing touches on a lifelike carving of a fish or bird that started out as nothing more than a raw block of Tupelo wood. It’s like somebody turned on the light switch and, suddenly, they see themselves in a whole new light.

Q:
You’re the one who should be proud.

George:
My wife always said I was very persuasive. A lot of people don’t recognize that confidence resides subconsciously in all of us. I simply help them find it. And they return the favor by helping me with my billiards game.

Q:
I had heard that you’re quite the pool shark.

George:
(Smiling) More like the pool goldfish. Between shooting pool and carving, that’s my week. I can’t think of a better way to spend my days, can you?

Q:
No, we can’t

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Read other interviews with Shannondell residents by clicking on the names below:

Marilyn
Learning a new trick …
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Frank
Carving out a new hobby …
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Werner
Nails his choice …
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Gloria & Frank
Finding the right balance …
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Marty
Enjoying a bigger stage …
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Helen
The dancer learns to lead …
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Art & Marge
Growing in so many ways …
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Shirley
Exhibiting why Shannondell is special….
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Grace
An abstract sculptor is born….
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Tom
Lapping it up and loving it….
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Nancy
Stage-struck for the first time….
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George
Carving out quite a following….
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Barb
Voting to help her neighbors….
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Anita & John
Racking up the wins….
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Diane
Moving to a new beat….
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Pat
Making friends with facts….
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Vivian
Singing praises of Shannondell….
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Sarah
Enjoying a new track….
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