Glenn Sears returned to his native Honolulu seven years ago to retire, but living in a condo on the 35th floor with his “perfect wife of 58 years,” he didn’t meet many people, and many of his old friends had either moved to the mainland or died. The 83-year-old former civil engineering professor was bored and lonely.
Then he read about an international program called Men’s Sheds. It is sort of like a Boy Scouts for adults, a place where men can learn new skills and work together on community projects: building park benches, making toys for children’s hospitals or volunteering at food drives.
In 2015, he started to put together a group in Honolulu, advertising in local community centers and on Craigslist. A friend offered him the use of a vacant warehouse – if he could cart away a 28-ton concrete pile. Sixty volunteers showed up with tools and jackhammers.
Now they use the space to fix up outrigger canoes, offer power equipment training and repair abandoned bikes. And Sears has plenty of new friends and a new mission: opening two more Men’s Sheds groups on Oahu and hoping to start more on other islands.