He's not your typical 55-year-old man. John Carzo has autism, but despite his challenge, he's been woodworking and painting at the Herkimer ARC for years and today, John held his very first community sale.
"It's his world, this is his world, his woodshop," says Sharon Jaquay, John's Direct Support Professional at Herkimer ARC.
John began woodworking when he was just a little boy, but over the years it's become far more than a hobby.
"That's what his gift is; to be able to create something from nothing. And I think it just fills his soul," says Susan Streeter, Vice President at Herkimer ARC.
"To see him blossom the way he does, and out in the community for people to stop and actually talk to him, not through me, but to him, its the best," says Jaquay.
Sharon's been working with John for nearly 5 years. She says not only is she his teacher but now, she's his friend.
"We're in our element when we're in here because him and I click. We both like crafts, we both like to paint, just everything, we're just 2 peas in the same pod," says Jaquay.
And coordinators at the Herkimer ARC say he happens to be very good.
"Everyone has their niche, their thing in life and John's happens to be woodworking," says Streeter.
"He can do far more then me on a skill saw and a band saw. I can't follow that pattern but he can, its amazing," says Jaquay.
Woodworking has helped John emotionally and socially but most importantly...
"Makes him a happy fella, right Johnny?" says Jaquay.
"See, the smile tells it all," says Jaquay.
Now if you missed the sale today, it's not too late to get your very own creation by John. Today's sale was for Halloween but John will have even more holiday decorations in the coming months and all proceeds will go toward purchasing more wood and materials.
For more information:
350 S. Washington Street
Herkimer, NY 13350
Phone: (315) 574-7000
Fax: (315) 866-8339