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Senior woodcarver shares his passion with others: 'I couldn’t do it without him'

“He is just a great person.”
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Posted at 2:58 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 15:03:52-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Hugh Hubbard whittles more than just the day away.

“Well, I spend a lot of time alone,” said Hugh. “This is a garage, but I use it for my workshop.”

The Richmond native is perfecting his passion of woodcarving.

Hundreds of his wooden figures remain stationary. But Hugh Hubbard remains on the move.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Brandermill Woods activity center, Hugh attends class, not as a student, but to teach.

“I came down to the class and the class was advertised and there was Hugh,” says student Tom Stumm. “I look forward to it every week.”

The Richmond native founded this workshop when he moved there 13 years ago, introducing novices to the hobby he started in 1987.

“I don’t know. It’s a slow process. You get in and whittle, whittle, whittle. You know,” said Hugh.

At 95, Hugh is the senior of seniors in this class made up entirely of veterans.

“I’ve probably ruined as many pieces as I have finished. We call it a ‘whoopsie’,” said Tom.

Hugh’s apprentices adore his leadership and dedication.

“Oh, absolutely. I couldn’t do it without him. I couldn’t do it without him,” added Tom.

What they appreciate most is his sense of humor.

“You always know where Hugh is because it carries for some distance,” said student Lou Sanders.

In this workshop, the teacher is the biggest cut up, proving you’re never too old to enjoy life while sharpening your skills.

“The more carving you do the more you learn,” said Hugh. “It is gratifying when you can turn something that looks halfway decent.”

Sometimes the knife can miss the mark. Not to worry. Hugh is there with a remedy. Hugh says sugar helps heal minor cuts.

To succeed precision and concentration help, but in this class no one gets a failing grade for imperfections.

“Instead of being critical he is helpful. And that means a lot to us,” said Tom. “He is just a great person.”

He’s a teacher turning a solitary endeavor into a social event.

“When you finish carving it you feel very proud of it. And that means a lot to me,” said Sanders.

Hugh Hubbard. A senior citizen who has already carved quite a legacy.

Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.

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