It wasn’t too many years ago that Riley resident Wayne VanSickle was a regular visitor here at Clay Center Presbyterian Manor. His uncle, William Adams, was a resident here, and Wayne quickly got to know many of the staff members and other residents.
“I used to come to Clay Center a lot in high school, and then I was in the National Guard here in Clay Center for six years, so I know a lot of people here already. But it was nice seeing familiar faces up at the manor,” said Wayne.
One of those familiar faces was Marketing Director and Senior Living Counselor Heather Germann.
“My uncle passed a few years ago, but Heather and I have kept in touch. She knew I was a woodworker and wondered if I might like to display some of my pieces at Presbyterian Manor. I did the plaque in the chapel a while back, so I thought that would be a good thing,” said Wayne.
During the month of February, Clay Center Presbyterian Manor residents will be treated to the talent of Wayne’s woodwork with two pieces, one being the state seal of Kansas, and the other a depiction of the raising of the flag over Iwo Jima.
“I always wanted to do the state seal of Kansas. That one took me several months of work, and I tried my hand at painting it. I learned to paint by watching Bob Ross on KPTS. He really knows his stuff!” said Wayne. “And the flag raising, well, it’s something that’s always moved me, and I wanted to try to recreate. It was tough because you only see the one side in the photo, and I had to imagine what the other side might look like.”
The Iwo Jima piece will soon be displayed at the Civic Center at Nelson’s Landing in Leonardville.
“They’re doing a tribute to vets, and they wanted that Iwo Jima piece. They’re building a special display case for it,” said Wayne.
Imagining things and bringing them to reality has been Wayne’s way of life since he was a young boy.
“I got into woodworking on my own when I was in grade school. I used to make toy boats and guns. I tried to make them, anyways. I was self taught. The neighbor boy was pretty artsy, and we did this stuff together,” said Wayne.
This love for creating things led Wayne into his career, which involved several industries including sign making at a shop in Manhattan and model creation as a civilian employee at Fort Riley.
“I’ve always loved making things. I used to make boats, in fact. I took 30 years building a sailboat, and finally sold it last summer. I also made bird decoys there for a while, and I am now interested in learning to turn wood on the lathe,” said Wayne.
A man of many talents, Wayne also enjoys spending time with his family: wife Ramille, three children, eight grandchildren, and a great-grandchild on the way.