Birds-Eye View: U-Haul Team Members Talk Hobbies

U-Haul Team Members have no trouble finding ways to keep busy and entertained when they leave work. And some of them are quite passionate about their hobbies.

Since January is National Hobby Month, we took the liberty of asking our Team Members in the field what interests them away from the office. Here’s what we found out:

Kelly & Ken Fesenmaier, General Managers in Surrey, B.C.

This British Columbia married couple has been heavily involved with the B.C. Exotic Bird Society for more than 17 years. The society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the education of exotic birds and the rescue of these beautiful creatures from situations that are no longer healthy for them.

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Kelly said that the group holds monthly meetings for volunteers so they can offer a venue for people to ask questions about their birds, or find help for behaviors that can become dangerous to the birds.

“Most of the time we use our collective education to determine whether the behavior is dietary, psychological or something as simple as boredom,” she said. “We help with other problems such as getting a new bird to fit in with a new household community or stopping a bird from becoming a constant screamer, as I am sure you have probably heard of.”

The couple also attends pet fairs and expos in the surrounding area to promote their program, rescue and adoptions, Kelly explained.

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“We set up a booth with birds and information, and Ken and I, with other volunteers, staff these booths sometimes for two to three days depending on the length of that particular show,” she said. “None of our members are paid and it has been a hobby and a labor of love for quite some time now. As Ken keeps getting re-elected as president of the society, I can see us being involved well into the future.”

You can visit the society’s website at: www.bcexoticbirdsociety.org.

Kelly McNeil, Repair Shop Manager in Springfield, Mo.

Kelly McNeil has been repairing, restoring and tinkering with cars, old tractors and even riding mowers for decades. The car that got him started was a 1941 Chevrolet Coupe.

McNeil’s brother, Thomas, purchased the car from radio sports announcer Bill Hurst for $100 – yes, that figure is correct – and began working on the car during his senior year of high school. When Thomas was drafted into the military, Kelly and his father took over the car and finished restoring it in 1977.

It’s all authentic, with the original six-cylinder engine and six-volt battery system.

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“The car has never, and will never, be modified to a street rod or any such thing like that,” McNeil said. “Thomas and I have changed possession of the car from time to time, with neither one of us calling it our own. Occasionally, the car may be driven in a parade or taken for a Sunday drive, or as once happened, used as transportation when my niece got married. I wore a chauffeur’s cap and drove them from the church to the reception.”

Besides the car, Kelly has a 1984 GMC 4×4 that he special-ordered when he was 21.

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“Though there isn’t much left of the old truck, it’s one of my favorite toys to play with. I was driving it when I met my wife and I think she fell in love with the truck before me.”

Scott Swab, Field Relief Manager in Jacksonville, Fla.

Swab takes more of an artistic approach to his hobbies, including: engraving granite, painting granite and canvas, and woodworking. He sits in his shop during all hours of the night until he gets an idea for something.

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“The engravings all started about a year ago while anticipating my first granddaughter to be born,” he said. “I was sitting out in the shop waiting to hear word and I had a piece of granite lying on the work bench that I was using to make a table top for one of the GM’s. I decided to make a backsplash for it and thought it needed a fish, so I dug out the engraver and engraved a redfish into the backsplash.”

Each of the pieces shown here has been a gift to someone in Swab’s U-Haul family.

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“I find it extremely relaxing because I don’t think about anything and never really know what the final product will look like until it’s done,” he said. “I do this strictly for therapeutic reasons.”

Just because National Hobby Month is coming to a close this week doesn’t mean that we will stop showcasing our amazing Team Members. Be on the lookout for more U-Haul spotlight pieces and feel free to submit your favorite hobbies.

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