Life can sometimes change you as dramatically as an aluminum can in a crusher. It was roughly 60 years ago when George Mercer lost his arms in an industrial accident.
George recounted that day with his co-worker, saying "And so he started it back up. Raised it up off of me and I come up with this hand this arm hanging straight down, this one down. A little bit of skin a holding them on."
He was undoubtedly different, and yet still the same, when just a week later he called out to his wife Claudette. "Claudette give me a beer. She went and got a beer. I said open it. And I took them two bandaged arms and put them together, and yup, it'll work."
With a can-do attitude and a can't-quit wife, it wasn't long before George was back to work in construction. "Oh I love it. It' just part of me," said George from the seat of his backhoe. He customized the controls to better utilize the equipment. "I just wanted them where I could have enough room to get in 'em and I did," George said.
Over the years he adapted a fishing pole, a pool stick, his crossbow and several guns. As for mowing the lawn, that's no big deal. All thanks, in large part, to a woman who never treated George as anything less than whole. George said that Claudette would "try to help me do everything."
Which is exactly how George treats Claudette today. George wipes Claudette's mouth with a towel comforting her saying "You'll make it won't ya, you'll make it."
Channel 8's Kristin Dickerson asked George "When you got the diagnosis that she has Alzheimer's. What was that . . . what was that like for you?"
In a positive tone George responded, "Oh, just treat it the best we could and do whatever we could with it."
Claudette is undoubtedly different and yet still the same. "She can't say 'George' hardly at all. But she knows I'm supposed to be there. And everyday she looks for me," George said.
The lesson from this 60 plus year marriage, is that no matter how much life can dramatically change you, true love never changes.