IT’S A JOURNEY
Member Profile – Arthur Zirger
One of the biggest benefits for members of the GuFeng Tai Chi Club (GFTCC or the Club) is getting to know others in the group. Not surprisingly, there are many remarkable members within our midst. One such member is Art Zirger, who epitomizes and supports the values of the Club. Art joined the GFTCC in 2008. Since that time, he’s been an enthusiastic participant and active contributor.
Art retired in 2004 after a distinguished career in the US Air Force where he worked as an Instructor Pilot and Logistics Officer. While serving in the Air Force, Art was stationed at various domestic bases as well as overseas in Guam, Iceland, Japan and South Vietnam. Post-retirement from the Air Force, Art worked at the University of Florida as the Director of Outreach in the College of Engineering.
Both personally and professionally, Art has a passion for lifelong learning and a dedication to volunteering. In addition to practicing tai chi, he takes piano lessons, hosts twice-weekly bridge games and weekly discussion groups. He also volunteers at a local Food Share and the TruCare Hospice. Art has taken continuing education courses at the University of Colorado. He currently serves as the President of the Bramford Condominium Homeowners Association.
A highlight of his giving spirit is the creation of the Alice M. Zirger Memorial Scholarship at the University of Florida. After his beloved wife Alice passed away, Art was inspired to create a memorial to Alice, whom he describes as “a brilliant woman with a deep love for learning.” And so it was that 29 years ago Art, in conjunction with the University of Florida, established the Alice M. Zirger Memorial Scholarship with a family endowment. The purpose was to help women return to school and achieve their educational goals after raising their families. Each year Art travels to Gainesville to award one or more recipients with their merit-based scholarship. Below is a picture of Art awarding scholarship recipient Anna Bjorklund in April 2017. (This last sentence will be the caption for the photo).
Art has been with the GFTCC since 2008. He practices tai chi to improve his physical balance and flexibility as well as achieve some level of mindfulness associated with the practice of tai chi. Try as he does to get his body to do complex tai chi moves and routines, Art admits he has more success doing them in his mind. After 9 years of learning and practicing tai chi, he says with humility and a sparkle in his eyes “I’m still looking for my Qi!”
What essentially keeps Art active in the Club is his respect and admiration for Laura Ting. He acknowledges Laura’s high standards, along with her work ethic, care and total commitment to tai chi. Art puts it this way, “Laura gives 110% and expects her instructors to do the same. The team of instructors she has put together are wonderful people who give generously of their time, energy and experience to help students of all levels learn and practice tai chi.”
Like many, if not all members, Art recognizes that the core values of the GFTCC stem directly from Laura’s vision for the organization – namely humility, community, commitment to the Club and dedication to tai chi practice. Not surprisingly, Art’s personal and professional values closely match those of the Club and perhaps for this reason, he makes an annual contribution, solely on his own volition to benefit the organization and its members.
One of Art’s favorite mottos is “It’s never too late.” In fact, it’s a credo he lives by. Art is a positive, adaptable person by nature – someone who is content with what’s good enough, but unwilling to be complacent. He lives in the moment, yet keeps an eye on what’s around the corner. Moreover, Art consciously puts time and effort into activities that benefit charities and populations in need.
Although Art is still searching for his “Qi”, he enhances the positive energy of the Club with his giving spirit. Members like Art make the GFTCC a rewarding community to be part of.