CRST member and elder Guy Gilbert keeps himself busy. When he sees something needs to be done or he wants to do something, he does it — alone or with the help of friends.
For him, life began 81 years ago, and whatever his trials or tribulations, he said a person just has to put him or herself in “first gear,” which is exactly what he had to do when he fell and broke his nose, and had to spend three weeks at Fort Meade and 20 days in Ft. Pierre.
To get home, he put himself in first gear.
His broken nose was the result of a fall he had in his garage while he was doing what he calls piddling.
A widow with one son who lives in Texas, Gilbert lives alone, but he has not been idle since his retirement in 2003 from Brown Builders in Shreveport, LA where he worked for 24 years after serving in the military.
It is Gilbert’s career in construction that gave him the know-how to draft the structure for the St. Mary’s bell tower when asked.
Gilbert wrote his account of the story and shared it with me:
“A year ago, a white car with CA tags was parked on the road close to my home.
I stopped and asked if I could help them. A lady said they were looking for a little chapel. I took them to St. Mary’s Church. She was looking for her brother’s grave, Father Mark.
We looked and looked, and as we were leaving, we walked up on it. She wanted to put a new headstone up and get it blessed.
Anne Hall Walker said we need a bell tower at St. Mary’s, because the lady from CA is coming back to get the headstone blessed. I told her I will have a bell tower up.
I got with my neighbor Gregg Morrow to dig the holes, and Neal Chasing Hawk, Mike Jewett and I to get it built.
Gregg came back to set the bell on the tower. I built the cross and sign at St. Mary’s Church by the road too.
We didn’t need North Carolina or White Horse people to get the job done. Gregg Morrow, Neal Chasing Hawk, Mike Jewett and I did the job. I also helped draw up the plans for the White Horse tower too.”
Gilbert showed the room he recently added to his house, his remodeled kitchen, and the many other practical upgrades he has done since he retired. He said he benefits from the help of friends, who also come to him for his help — each profiting from the others’ strengths and skills in one way or another.
Gilbert said he has been fortunate to have had a job that allowed him to travel the U.S., and suggested young people take advantage of any opportunity to see the country.
Gilbert’s stories suggest far more than they say, and if you ask him a question, he may give you a story rather than a direct answer — leaving you with thoughts to chew on.