Woodturner Dennis Stelz on How Craft Saved His Life

Woodturner Dennis Stelz on How Craft Saved His Life

Woodturner Dennis Stelz

Woodturner Dennis Stelz outside of his Hot Springs Village home.

Woodturner Dennis Stelz wasn’t always a woodturner. He was a champion marksman, and he was a veteran of the Vietnam War.
 
“I spent 1968 in Vietnam jumping out of helicopters, and that’s where all of this basically started, with my back problems,” he explains.
 
Injuries sustained during combat in Vietnam left him with no choice but to undergo three spinal surgeries in 2005, 2006, and 2009. The third had complications, resulting in near-total vision loss. Devastated, he fell into a deep depression.
 
“I’d turn all the lights off in the house. I’d sit in my chair. I’d turn the TV on, and I didn’t want anyone to talk to me,” he recalls. “I look back at it now and I go, ‘I wasted two years of my life.’ ”
 
In this feature video, hear Stelz tell the story of his vision loss, and how he found new hope through craft.