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Morris Frank Chair Restored by SAGE’s Furniture Workshop

Gino Simonetti of SAGE Eldercare’s Furniture Restoration Workshop in Summit worked on refinishing The Seeing Eye founder Morris Frank’s chair.  The chair will be displayed in the Morris Frank Conference Room at The Seeing Eye headquarters in Morristown, along with other memorabilia.  Proceeds from the Furniture Restoration Workshop benefit programs and services for older adults and caregivers in the surrounding communities.  The workshop is located on the lower level of SAGE Eldercare’s building at 290 Broad Street in Summit and is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.  For more information, call 908.598.5531 or visit Credits: Julie Pedersen

Two local organizations, both of which focus on helping residents stay connected to the communities in which they live, recently came together when a SAGE Eldercare board member brought The Seeing Eye founder Morris Frank’s chair in for restoration at SAGE.  Combined, The Seeing Eye and SAGE Eldercare have been established for 145 years.

“Over the years, we’ve had some very interesting pieces brought in for work, but this is one of the most historical pieces I can remember,” noted Al Kessler, Manager of the Furniture Restoration Workshop at SAGE Eldercare.  “Apparently, Morris Frank, who helped start The Seeing Eye, used this chair in his office from the day the organization was founded in 1929.” 

R. Bruce Johnson, Immediate Past President of SAGE Eldercare’s Board of Trustees and volunteer archivist of The Seeing Eye, brought in the office chair for the workshop craftsmen to “bring it back to life,” as he put it.  “The Seeing Eye has a conference room named for Morris Frank which contains memorabilia of him and his guide dogs and they wanted to display his chair, as well.  The chair needed some minor repairs and staining to make it a little more presentable.  Because of my work with both organizations, I knew just who to turn to for help -- SAGE’s Furniture Restoration Workshop produces craftsmanship work at reasonable prices and has been serving the community like The Seeing Eye for many decades.”

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SAGE’s Furniture Restoration Workshop, located on the lower level of 290 Broad Street in Summit, is one of the few places in the state that you can take your chair in to have it recaned.  The volunteer workers also handle rushing and seat cover replacements, as well as basic sanding, staining and repairs.  Proceeds from the workshop benefit SAGE Eldercare’s programs and services for older adults and caregivers in the surrounding communities.  The workshop is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.  For more information, call 908.598.5531 or visit

The Seeing Eye, Inc. is located in Morristown, NJ and was founded in 1929 as the first guide dog school in the country. The dogs are trained to assist their owners and provide them with a means to be independent and to be able to get about as pedestrians in their communities without other assistance.  American dog trainer, Dorothy Harrison Eustis, was experimenting in Switzerland with using German Shepherds as working dogs for blind World War I veterans and wrote an article which appeared in the November 5, 1927 edition of The Saturday Evening Post.  Shortly thereafter, she was contacted by a blind Tennessean man, Morris Frank, who heard about the article and enlisted her to train a dog for his personal use.  The effort eventually evolved into their collaboration in establishing The Seeing Eye organization in Switzerland and the United States.

For the past 60 years, SAGE Eldercare has been helping make the communities they serve an amazing place to age.  The organization provides a wide array of information, support, and services designed to help people lead the most independent and active lives possible.  From helping with errands, to exercise classes, community programs, and home health care, SAGE’s expertise helps older adults remain in their own homes.  SAGE is committed to being the leading provider of programs and services to meet the changing needs of older adults, their families, and caregivers throughout Union, Essex, Morris and Somerset Counties.  For more information, please call 908.273.5550 or visit

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