Jerry Hymel was trained as a research scientist at the Medical Center of South Carolina. In 1972 he accepted a faculty position at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Miss. Seven years later his life was thrown a curve. While cutting a tree, the tree fell, pinning him beneath and severing his spinal cord. After a long hospitalization, he returned to the classroom but it soon became apparent that a change in lifestyle would be necessary. In 1982 Hymel began to pursue a hobby in stained glass. The hobby developed into a cottage industry and his business is called Our Glass Studio.
In 1987 Jerry joined the Craftsmen Guild of Mississippi. In 1995 he was selected to display a Christmas ornament on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. In 1999 he traveled to Los Angeles to represent Mississippi and the United States at the international festival for handicapped artists. The event is sponsored by Very Special Arts, which is part of the Kennedy Foundation. He participated as artist-in-residence at St. Richard's School in Jackson, Mississippi under a grant awarded by the Mississippi Arts Commission. The Project involved working with each student to construct a twelve-foot diameter mosaic. It commemorates a totally accessible playground of which there are only nineteen in the world.
In 2002 he was selected as one of the artists in the U.S. to create an ornament for the White House Christmas tree. He was invited to the White House to attend a reception given by Mrs. Laura Bush. In 2003 he received the Artistic Achievement award by the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services and selected to join the Louisiana Craftsmen's Guild.
Hymel's creations are for sale at galleries throughout the southeast and include gift items, beveled glass, angels and kaleidoscopes. His work also includes custom windows for homes and churches and restorations. To see some of his work visit the Our Glass Website at www.ourglass.com.