An East Jordan man who is blind isn’t letting that stop him from doing what he loves.
When George Johnson was getting drafted to serve in Vietnam, he found out he had a genetic eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa making him ineligible. Around the same time, he was also introduced to woodworking.
“When I was diagnosed, they never explained to me what was going to happen, the possibility of going blind,” said George Johnson, Artist of Symatree products.
By age 60, Johnson became completely blind.
“We were working in our office, doing a lot of paperwork, and I just started to realize that I couldn’t read anymore,” explained Johnson.
Shortly after going blind, Johnson got tongue cancer.
A few years in remission, he was diagnosed with throat cancer.
This was when Johnson started woodworking again but this time blind.
“I pretty much know by feel. I visualize something in my head, and I keep visualizing it,” said Johnson. “Before I turn the saw on, I realize where I am, where my fingers are. When I do turn the saw on, I am 110% focused.”
“I only get nervous if I have to go downstairs and hear the saw because I don’t want to disrupt him,” said Sandy Miller, wife of George Johnson.
Johnson creates beautiful art pieces from birdhouses to tables, proving you can define all odds.
“I truly believe that we all have that strength in us, and you have to take it day by day,” said Miller.
“I really experienced the gratitude and grace of family and friends. Without it, I don’t think I would be sitting here.”
For more information on Johnson’s work, you can click here.