Gerd Gabler My Mentor - Jeff Garbutt

I am writing this letter to tell all of you about a person that made a tremendous impact on my life as well as many others. Gerd Gabler was a loving husband and a proud father. Gerd has been a very dear friend of my family for as long as I can remember and we will miss him dearly. So let me take this opportunity to tell you how Gerd "Held The Door For Others".

Gerd had a great passion in life for his work. He was an exceptional artist in the world of carpentry. I worked with Gerd for the first time when I was a young teenager. My parents were putting an addition on our home and Gerd let me help out. He showed me how to put in a true "hard days work". I always looked at him with awe as he turned a pile of lumber into a work of art, but what really awed me about Gerd was his passion to teach. I cannot describe the glow that illuminated from Gerd's face when I asked him to teach me how to build. He loved taking his valuable time out to give myself, as well as many others, a bit of his knowledge and skill. To some people this sounds very nice, but it was not until now that I realized the impact that Gerd has had on my life as well as hundreds of others.

Let me put this into perspective for you: For me, Gerd taught me the importance of not only being punctual for work but to be early (that was always a tough one for me). He taught me how to learn new skills and then not be afraid to try them on my own. It was alright if I made a mistake because Gerd always knew how to fix it. When I got to work one day he came over to me and handed me “THE HAMMER” and said, "Here, use this". At the end of the day when I tried to return the hammer to him he said, "Put it in your toolbox, it's yours now". Again you saw the look of excitement in his face as he made his students' day. As time went on, (under Gerd's expert tutelage) I became fearless to attacking bigger tasks and went from skill-less to skill-full.

The last time I worked for Gerd was the summer I turned 19. Now, 10 years later I cannot begin to count the numerous times I have used the knowledge Gerd gave me. Since then, I have taught many friends the skills I have learned to help them “fix up the house" or just build something. I love the fact that I can say, “I made that?” One day when I was helping my buddy put the siding on his house he said to me, "That's good enough!!!; Why do you have to be such a perfectionist?" My only reply I had for him was, "Because That's The Way I Was Taught!" For Gerd there was nothing else.

My fiancé and I are closing on a house in a month and I look forward to sharpening my skills once again. Gerd will be there, with "THE HAMMER” in my hand!! One day I hope to pass on what I learned from Gerd to my children, and from them to theirs. I know my kids will see that same look as I saw on Gerd's face when they ask me to teach them how to build.

Now, looking back I think about all the people that Gerd taught. His skills and teachings have made an unimaginable impact on many people’s lives. Gerd not only installed the doors in the house, but also opened many for me. In turn, I will open many doors for others and so on. Gerd's teachings and skills will live on forever. So everyone do me a favor and open a door for someone in honor of Gerd. Something as little as "holding a door" can change many lives. And remember Gerd, as my mother would say, "Jesus too was a carpenter".

--Thanks Gerd!--Hammer Away, Jeff