Local Goodness - Pennsylvania
Hi! My name is Richard Horner. I am from Rimersburg Pennsylvania and have been working with wood since I graduated from Union High School in 1979.
My first job was at a saw mill where we cut and dried rough lumber. My next job working with wood lasted 19 ½ years at Crawford Furniture Mfg in New Bethlehem Pa. where I received all my knowledge of wood and wood working machinery. The machine I enjoyed the most to operate was the wood lathe. Turning bed posts, bed spindles and table legs. This was on a massive scale to what I do now on a small lathe in my shop. My next career move took me in a totally different direction. I left the furniture plant and went to work for Pepsi-Cola.
After 12 years I still longed for the woodworking . While browsing the Internet, I ran across small lathes designed to turn smaller items, such as one-of-a-kind writing instruments. The results were beautiful - made from all different kinds of wood from around the world. My favorites are the burls - burl is a large growth on the trunk or limb of the tree - especially from exotic woods. These create some of the most beautiful grain patterns.
So after a rather hefty investment and time I was set to create. Little did I know that this would become an addiction. Not a bad addiction, but a life saving one. Through the first winter I spent a lot of time learning different methods of turning by hand and getting the finish to the quality I wanted. I started giving them and gifts and selling just a few of my works. In the summer of 2008 I went to a few shows were I was surprised and very pleased that people just could not believe that I had made these from a piece of wood and colored acrylic .
This is where the life saving part comes in. In Sept 2008 after 25 years of untreated acid reflux, I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. October of that year I went into the hospital for the biggest life changing event, I had an Esophagectomy where the esophagus is removed and stomach reattached to replace the esophagus. After 4 months of semi recovering I was ready for Chemo. But after a Cat and PET scan more cancer was found in my lymph nodes. I had another surgery to remove one cancerous lymphnode.
Chemo started a month later and so did its side effects. But on days when I was able to walk to the shop I would turn pens and other little items. Along with prayer and turning I got through the chemo and I have been cancer free since June 2009. We have a saying around here that through Prayer and Pens I defeated cancer.
Along with my wife and 2 daughters, I am currently involved with declaring April as Esophageal Cancer month in Pennsylvania. We have been invited to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in April to be on the floor of the Pa House of Representatives when this resolution will be voted on. We are very excited about this. This will help boost the awareness of this terrible disease.
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