How one Navy veteran discovered his unexpected talent

Loyal News 6 viewer makes kazoos

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – One Lake County News 6 viewer spends his days taking pictures of Central Florida's sunsets and building kazoos.

George Collins, a retired Navy veteran, said he made his first kazoo almost by accident.

"I just wanted a place to come tiddle and have fun, and I don't really remember what made me make a kazoo at first, and I made one and I thought, well, that's pretty good, let me make some more of these and put them online," Collins said.

His passion started a decade ago. Since then, he's made the instrument countless times inside his workshop located just outside his home in Eustis.

Collins spends his days cutting and sanding down wood for customers, the majority of whom are from abroad. 

"It's real popular, especially in the ukulele communities and in the ukulele communities in Australia," Collins said.

It's a talent he acquired naturally. He taught himself how to build the musical instrument, which is played by humming into it.  

"You have a membrane in a kazoo, and that membrane is plastic and it vibrates. That's what makes the sound, and I make my own resonated membranes," Collins, a North Carolina native, said. 

Collins first lived in the Sunshine State when he was in the Navy.

"My first duty assignment was Florida, and I went on to Scotland, was stationed there for a while and Athens, Greece, was stationed there for a while, but I managed to always come back to Florida," Collins said.

After his retirement, he moved back to Florida in 1980. Since then, he's been a loyal News 6 viewer.

"I just enjoy the format and the number of times it's on. (I like) Tom, I like him (and) Julie. I like Julie. She tickles me to death," Collins said.

George isn't just a talented kazoo builder. He also has a love for photography, which the News 6 Pinpoint Weather team enjoys seeing every day.

"I'm just a hobbyist. I love clouds, being in the Navy and at sea for so long, the only thing you see is (the) prettiest clouds," Collins said.

Every day, he shares picturesque Central Florida sunsets on his Twitter account with meteorologists Troy Bridges, Tom Sorells, Candace Campos and Samara Cokinos. 

"It reminds me of being back on ship when (the) only thing you can see in any direction is skyline. I love Central Florida. I ain't going nowhere," Collins said.

You can follow Collins on Twitter @dockazoo.

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