A few weeks ago, I noticed a young man helping at the Center for the Aging, on the grounds of Tripler Army Medical Center. He had a pleasant personality and stood out among the workers.
I have since found that he is a volunteer at the Center. He seemed to enjoy the music and as I went about the usual chatter that I do while performing and I found that he plays the ukulele and the guitar. So I invited him to join me.
Here's Cheyne with his 12 string guitar
He did so the next time I played there, bringing his ukulele. The next time, he brought his 12 string guitar.
Cheyne (pronounced “Shane”) is a 2008 graduate of Saint Louis High School and is home from the University of Hawaii at Hilo where is will be entering his fourth year. He originally was a Marine Science major and is seeking approval to switch to Pre-Nursing.
Cheyne had a few events in his life that made him realize that he could help relatives, friends and family members if he had “hands-on” knowledge and experience in dealing with health issues, and could better assist in their healing process. Thus, the decision to switch to pre-nursing.
At the Center for the Aging, he volunteers at least four days a week from 8 AM to 4 PM. He often goes in five days a week. His mother works for the Veterans’ Administration at Tripler so he goes into work with her and leaves when she does. Very impressive.
He has also previously volunteered with the V.A. at the E-Wing of Tripler at the State Office. When he’s at school in Hilo, he’s also volunteered at the V.A. in the outpatient clinic.
Cheyne was taught to play the ukulele when he was ten years old by his father. A couple of years later, he taught himself to play the guitar and has been playing both instruments ever since. I admire those who can play both because I get confused trying to convert the fingering whenever switching between the two. I personally use a baritone ukulele whenever called upon to play (which isn’t often because I’m so bad at it) only because the fingering is the same as the guitar.
He’s likely a better piano player than me, having taken lessons for about three or four years when he was younger. But, he’s too humble and polite to say anything.
Cheyne was able to keep up with me whether I played simple contemporary Hawaiian music with three chords or Sinatra type ballads. Very impressive because many aren’t able to do the complicated chords that I use.
Mostly, I’m impressed that someone as young as he is would rather volunteer than to cruise the beach with friends while he’s home from college. He has a very bright future ahead of him. Any business or organization that hires him in the future will have acquired a gem of a human being.
Quality people like Cheyne are hard to find. If more of the young ‘uns are like him, we in geezerdom can have more confidence in our society’s ability to care for the Kupunas.