Local man to reach major milestone

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A local man is preparing to celebrate a major milestone.

For nearly 75 years, John Izenbaard has worked at Hoekstra's True Value Hardware store right here in Kalamazoo, helping customers find what they need and making people smile.

When we met up with Izenbaard Tuesday, he was fixing a screen for a customer.

We asked him what he thought of the fact that April will mark his 75th Anniversary at the hardware store, he said, "for 75 years, it went pretty fast."

John started working at the store on April 27, 1938--his 16th birthday.

"I really wasn't looking that far ahead; I was grateful that I had something that invited my interest," Izenbaard said.

The interest quickly turned to passion, as John realized that he loved helping people.

"I would really feel good when a customer left the store, had a smile, and was grateful for the fact that they got what they really came for," he said.

While John is 90 years old, he's still the go-to guy for problem solving.

"It went together, it had to come apart, and I had to be able to find out what was wrong," he said.

As he finishes up another project for a customer, John said he has no plans to quit anytime soon.

"Each day as I ask for a blessing, that I may be a blessing, is something that I have reason to give gratitude and thanks before I rest at night," John told us.

Because he plans to get up and do it all over again in the morning.

John says it's really the customers that make his job worth doing.

So, if you happen to stop by the store on April 27th, be sure to wish him a happy birthday and happy anniversary.
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