George Adams of Brussels raises thousands through birdhouses
BY DENNY SCOTT
George Adams, through his work with the Masonic Lodge, has raised $12,000 to fund research of prostate cancer, the second-most prevalent type of cancer in men worldwide,, and it all comes back to his woodworking.
The Brussels resident, who beat cancer several years ago, builds and sells birdhouses, barbecue scrappers, folding lawn chairs and other woodworking projects to raise money to promote research and awareness into the cancer, though the birdhouses are likely his trademark.
For 25 years, after moving off his family farm to a double lot in Brussels, on which he built a workshop he has been putting together simple birdhouses to give the local avian population a place to call home.
“When I was a young lad at home, we had a bluebird nested in a hollow post in the lane,” he said, when asked why he started building bird houses. “You don’t see those kinds of posts anymore, so when I moved, I started building birdhouses to make up for it. I always liked woodworking, but when I was farming, I didn’t have too much time to follow up on it.”
As a farmer, he had 800 acres of crops to work on and 400 to 500 head of cows, and when he left all that, he noticed that there weren’t many fence rows left in the county. So, he built a few dozen bird houses and put them on the hydro poles between Brussels and County Road 4.
Adams believes prostate cancer is important to combat because, despite it being one of the more survivable cancers, it does claim its fair share of victims.
He credits an experimental drug treatment with his triumph over the disease, explaining that he went through a compressed drug regimen once a week for a month instead of the daily chemotherapy sessions that those with prostate cancer can have to take for six weeks.
“I’ve lost a number of fishing friends to prostate cancer,” he said. “You have to get checked regularly.”
His own experience, alongside the efforts of the Masons, led to his practice of raising money through selling the birdhouses to fight prostate cancer.
Adams sells the birdhouses for $10, usually carrying them with him in his vehicle, to make sure the birds of the area have a home.
While he was warned away from installing the bird houses due to concerns they would be destroyed, Adams said he’s found no problems with utility providers taking them down, going so far as to thank Festival Hydro for putting the bird houses back up on some of the poles they’ve replaced locally.
Adams said that the fundraising and construction of the bird houses in general has been supported by a good number of people, including himself, through the donation of supplies.
“Some of the lumber is donated, and some I’ve bought,” he said. “Right now I’m working on the last bit of lumber from a large donation that came as a result of an interview I did with CBC.”
The interview and accompanying story was published several years ago, he said, and local writer Bonnie Sitter picked it up. He said he knew Sitter when she used to work in a travel agency he used to book fishing trips.
As a result of the CBC story and his connection with Sitter, his story appeared in a number of magazines, which put him in connection with people who have donated to the cause, including new wood and scrap wood.
The CBC story also led to The Times, a British daily newspaper, writing a story on Adams, which has spread his story across the world.