Gary Lucas – Don’t let it hold you back
Gary Lucas is a native of Indianapolis, who retired after a long career in the electrical industry. He’s worked with wood since he was 16 and is part of the Central Indiana Woodworkers club that makes more than 14,000 toys for disadvantaged children every year. He writes about his journey of stroke recovery in recognition of National Rehabilitation Awareness Week.
One of my passions in life is woodworking, especially with the scroll saw. It’s delicate, detail-oriented work that has allowed me to use my creativity to create beautiful pieces of art for friends, family and even children who are not well-off.
I also have a passion for teaching others how to do woodworking.
When I had a stroke in November 2017, the ability to do what I love was threatened. I lost my ability to speak, and the right side of my body was paralyzed.
I decided to use my passion to help me recover. I started reading the newspaper out loud and recording it so I could improve my speech. Most importantly, I got back to working with my scroll saw, improving my strength and coordination as I spent hours on projects. The time working on projects was almost like meditation to me. I felt rested and was able to accomplish something.
I have five goals displayed on the wall of my workshop. One is to teach others about woodworking. I didn’t want my stroke to keep me from doing that. In fact, I found I could use it to inspire others.
I started a YouTube channel to give tips about woodworking and using a scroll saw. Of course I was nervous at first – my speech is still not perfect. But I decided to do one introductory video about my speech and then move forward. Let people think what they may.
I’m posting videos regularly now and even leading presentations for our local woodworking club.
I like to help other people experience the joy of making things, especially those with a handicap. Whether you’ve had a stroke or have other challenges in life, don’t let that hold you back. Challenge yourself to keep learning and doing new things. You can accomplish more than you think you can, and you can HAVE FUN.