Harp technician continues working with disability

July 1, 2009 9:00:28 AM PDT
After becoming disabled in a motorcycle accident five years ago, a Chicago man has been able to resume his unique profession as a harp technician.George Flores, 39, has been repairing harps for 11 years. Prior to his accident, he traveled the world, working for symphonies and orchestras in every major country. Now, he is working his way back into his lifelong love.

The sounds of harpist Janelle Lake are both delicate and dreamy. George Flores got into the profession after playing in a heavy metal band.

"Along came the Seattle music sound in the industry and basically put me out of a job because record companies were looking for a different particular sound. So, I came home, you know, and said, 'I need to get a day job and went and I applied at one of the harp factories here in Chicago," Flores said. "[I] got the job because of my musical background as well as my technical skills."

Repairing harps is a physical job.

"That kind of hurts me the most, that I can no longer do is pick up the instrument. That was one of the things I was really known for. I was one of the healthiest, strongest guys in the industry," said Flores.

However, the technician's new standing wheelchair is allowing him to do his job.

"Because?harps stand six feet tall, and with a spinal cord injury and in an average wheelchair, it's a little difficult, and there lies the challenge," he said.

Not only is George Flores one of the best harp technicians. He is now the only one with a physical disability.

"I realize the significance and the importance of the international role that I'm playing here, as far as what I do for a living, because music has no borders; it has no language barriers. So, everybody recognizes what I do for a living and appreciates what I do for a living, and even more so because of my disability," Flores said.

George Flores hopes that what he does inspires other people with disabilities to never give up.

To learn more, visit www.venusharps.com and www.myspace.com/george_flores. For more information on the standing wheelchair, call 1.800.782.6346.


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