“Shorty” makes difference at LHR

Published 10:53 am Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Everyone calls him Shorty, but one thing’s for sure, William Chandler isn’t “short” on his ability to make people smile.

The 72-year-old Luverne Health and Rehabilitation resident spends the majority of his day coloring pictures to give to residents and staff members.

Chandler, a Brantley native, went to live at Luverne’s nursing home in February and by March he was coloring.

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A coloring book was a reward for Shorty after he took a test in one of the therapy programs.

“Shaunta (Terry) brought me my second coloring book,” he said. “Kelly in therapy got me started though.”

Since then, he’s colored some 500 pictures, and anyone who makes their way through the halls at LHR can see Shorty’s artwork.

He’s also shared them from Troy to Greenville and his cousins from Pensacola, Fla., even picked some up. He also has some of his artwork in Opp and Andalusia, he said.

“My son brought me some Angry Birds,” he said. “People really wanted those.”

One of the most special things Shorty does for the residents is color birthday cakes and roses for them on their birthdays.

“Every resident get a cake and a rose,” he said.

His rose colorings include four colors of roses – red, yellow, orange and pink.

Children who visit LHR get coloring pages courtesy of Shorty.

Beginning in October, Shorty started coloring pictures for the season.

On Monday, he was busy with Christmas decorations – coloring wreaths, a house, stockings and two varieties of candy canes.

“In October, I colored pumpkins; In November, it was turkeys and now it’s Christmas,” he said.

“I love coloring,” he said. “My birthday was Oct. 6. That day I colored 50 pumpkins. My hand doesn’t get tired, but my eyes do. When that happens I visit people.”

His favorite brand of crayons and markers is Crayola, he said.

LHR Social Worker Shaunta Terry said Shorty makes the staff and residents’ days.

Shorty is also a “full-blooded Alabama fan” by his own admission.

He has three children – two sons and a daughter and had nine grandchildren two of whom have passed away, he said.

Shorty said he’s enjoyed his time at LHR.

“When I first came, I couldn’t walk,” he said. “The therapy worked. I was here for 21 days. I was planning to go home to Brantley to live in the housing projects, but my oldest son didn’t want me to go home because I had no one to stay with me. Here, I have someone 24/7.

“They accepted me and I accepted them,” he said. “This is my home and I love it here and I love everybody. Hall Four knows me.”

The 72-year-old said he doesn’t consider himself elderly.

“I love working with people,” he said.

In his younger days, Shorty worked at the feed mill in Dozier for Bud Johnson. He also worked for Donalda Bailey at Brantley Gin Co., and at the sewing factory.