George Stender will be missed
It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our friend George Stender. George was an active volunteer and producer at AIM for more than 20 years, working on scores of productions, both behind and in front of the camera. George will be missed tremendously by the AIM community.
I met an instantly likable and very interesting fellow at the going away party for my predecessor at AIM almost eighteen years ago. As soon as he spotted me, he walked across the room, extended his hand to shake mine, and smiled broadly with bright, twinkling eyes. He introduced himself, welcomed me to Arlington and my new job, told me he thought I looked like a good guy and then gallantly kissed my wife’s hand. It was one of the warmest receptions we got all night and it went a long way toward making Diane and I feel at home. Later that evening, Vivian Shaeffer, the outgoing Executive Director said, “I see you’ve met George Stender. Be good to him, he’s one of the best volunteers you’ve got.”
It was good advice. Of course, we always tried to be good to George but I’m quite certain that he gave us far more than we ever gave him. To an organization that depends on volunteers for its life blood, George was our universal donor. The list of programs and producers that received his willing and able help is far too long to list. It would no doubt be quicker to list the programs on which he didn’t volunteer.
Besides his expertise on camera, George brought an inexhaustible supply of good humor to AIM. He had a unique ability to make everyone around him feel better. In all the years that I knew George, I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone nor did I ever hear anyone speak ill of him. Few people rise to the level of “beloved.” George is among them. I wish there were a way to thank George for everything he did for us. His gentle soul, strong character and twinkling eyes will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.