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Retired carpenter Michael Klimchok has spent decades carving, painting — and sharing — wooden figurines with anyone who would enjoy them.

“I’m a giver,” says Mr. Klimchok, 89, of Plymouth. “I enjoy it.”

When he joined the Geisinger 65 Forward Health Center in Kingston, Mr. Klimchok found a tight-knit community that appreciated his talents.

“Around Christmastime, Michael came in and said he makes wooden crafts, so I said, ‘Why don’t you bring them in?’” recalls Christina Quinnan, a community program specialist.

“Not long after, he brought in about 700 pieces — reindeer, stockings, snowmen and sleds.”

While she was shocked by the number of items Mr. Klimchok had fashioned, she wasn’t surprised by his generosity.

“Our crafting group loves what he makes and encourages him,” says Ms. Quinnan. “They love painting the figurines to donate and give back to the community.”

As the weather gets warmer, the center is full of flowers — wooden flowers, that is. Mr. Klimchok brings in more of his wooden tulips each week, and he’s even provided paint to the crafting group so they can bring the flowers to life.

Jovan Adams, DO, a physician at the Kingston center, says social activities and creative hobbies are important as we age.

“When people feel lonely, it can cause anxiety and even result in cognitive decline,” she says. “Arts and crafts keep the brain sharp and improve dexterity and cognitive skills.”

Ms. Quinnan says she can see the emotional benefits in the patients at the center. 

“So many members are happier since joining,” she says. “Socialization helps us maintain a sense of worth.”
65 Forward participant with wood carvings

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