George Dennehy played at my organization's annual meeting in Newport News, VA. The 19-year-old tells a compelling story.
George was born in Romania. A Romanian named George -- that there is Gheorghey in and of itself. Add to that that he was adopted by parents in Richmond, VA when he was just an infant because his parents couldn't properly care for him in his homeland. He grew up feeling (and being treated as) different than most kids but learned to play music, and somewhere along the way, his story caught the attention of local press, The Goo Goo Dolls (with whom he has played live), and now media outlets everywhere.
It's a cool success story for anyone. But here's the kicker that makes it unbelievable . . .
George Dennehy was born without arms.
He plays guitar (and cello, bass guitar, piano, and whatever else he can find) as he does most everything else for which people might assume you need arms and hands -- with his feet. He's incredibly skilled, and it's no exaggeration to say that I've been playing guitar in my spare time for 15 years, and he's far better with his toes than I'll ever be with my fingers. He's also an unassuming, grateful, and inspirational young fellow with great big doses of perspective to share with every story he relates about his life.
The nonprofit where I work supports people with disabilities of all kinds, and the beauty of this place is that on any given day you can see the kind of thing you wouldn't expect to see, no matter how long you've been here. Preconceived notions about the nature of disabilities are trashed here on a daily basis, and George Dennehy did just that once again yesterday as he played for a couple hundred mesmerized people with other types of disabilities (the ones officially diagnosed as well as the ones the rest of us have).
This video is well worth watching, and if you ever get a chance to see him play live, please do it.