George Chabbott has accomplished plenty in his nearly 90 years of life―and his most recent feat likely ranks as one of the most impressive.
Born in Upstate New York, George earned a skiing scholarship to Utah State College and received a degree in Forestry, which he used to land his dream job as a forest ranger in Oregon. Soon after, though, George was drafted into the armed services. He joined the U.S. Air Force and spent 23 years all over the world, serving in the Korean and Vietnam Wars in various roles such as flight instructor, base chief of military police, comptroller, and more.
After retiring from the Air Force, George assumed a prominent role in the community as an officer in the Air Force Association, president of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce, real estate developer, and activist. George retired from these pursuits at the age of 86 and enjoyed a few years of traveling, hunting, and golfing―but another challenge awaited.
Two days after George’s 89th birthday, his left leg was amputated below the knee. Just as he has throughout his entire life, though, George resolved to overcome this obstacle.
After surgery, George came to Sunrise of Bethesda, MD, for a short-term stay. The Walter Reed Medical Center constructed him a prosthetic leg, and George underwent intense physical therapy five days a week.
“I drove him to his appointments and shared a special bond with him,” said Sunrise of Bethesda activities assistant Gabe Pinkney. “I saw George’s progress and determination on display, day in and day out. George’s courage, drive, and spirit are second to none. Watching him go through the various stages of physical therapy and delivering on his promise was one of the most inspiring things I have ever witnessed.”
After about three months of hard work, George’s persistence paid off! He regained the ability to walk with his prosthetic leg, allowing him to conclude his respite stay and resume his travels around the world.
Sunrise of Bethesda held a send-off party for George, where Pinkney read the following poem:
In the month of May in twenty eighteen
George Chabbott appeared on the Bethesda scene
As he moved from his home in Dover, Delaware
To Sunrise of Bethesda to receive some care
After part of his leg was amputated at U Penn
George wanted a prosthetic built so he could walk again
He consulted with doctors at Walter Reed
And asked if this was possible to fulfill his needs
George wanted to begin physical therapy at the age of 89
He hoped for a short Maryland stay, less than three months of time
The doctors weren’t very sure he could do it
But George was determined and full of true grit
“Let’s proceed with our plan,” he confidently said
“Let’s ramp up our sessions with my new prosthetic leg”
“With the support of your team, my family and friends…
In no time, quite soon, I’ll be walking again”
So the Air Force colonel embarked on a brave quest
He’d led 150 combat missions, but physical therapy was a brand new test
If you know George, you know he’s up to the task
He’s accomplished so much, feats not many can grasp
He served his country for 23 years
Fighting in Vietnam and Korea, through blood, sweat and tears
He commanded and led at the Dover Air Force base
And became a world traveler, jet setting from place to place
George loved seeing the world; so many experiences were new
Travels both for pleasure, and while honoring the red, white and blue
Time in New York, Texas, California and overseas has brought plenty of laughter
Now a return to his longtime home of Dover to begin a new chapter
Thanks to the great team alongside Dr. Bob Bahr
George’s progress has been remarkable; he’s become a PT superstar
Witnessing his triumphs, determination, work ethic and desire
We cannot help but to feel incredibly inspired
He’s done it! He’s succeeded, at this plan that he vowed
George is walking again, making all of us proud
Our best to your family, children John, Colette and Michelle
We’re honored to have met you, and wish you all well
So as you return home to your new cottage in Dover
Even though you’re leaving Sunrise, our bond isn’t over
We salute you, Colonel, best wishes we send
Thank you, George Chabbott, for being a dear friend
Respite Care at Sunrise Senior Living
Sunrise communities offer short-term stays, also known as respite care, for seniors who need assistance for a short period of time. This can be helpful as a way to try out a community, for recovering from surgery or an extended hospital stay, or for when a caregiver goes on vacation. Respite residents enjoy access to all the same amenities as our full-time residents, including three home-cooked meals a day, activities, and use of our beautiful common spaces.
Click here or call a community near you to learn more!