It took close to 110 hours for Wellington artist Chris Corley to carve an intricately detailed figure of an American Eagle into a gleaming wooden gunstock. He may never know who the eventual owner will be now that he has carefully packed up and shipped the gun to the headquarters of America’s Freedom Lodge in Cambridge, Ohio. The nonprofit provides recreational and outdoors equipment for disabled and paralyzed veterans.
In September the piece will be raffled to raise funds for an action-track chair that will allow disabled servicemen and women to participate in hunting and fishing expeditions. Equipped with tank treads, the chair can traverse rough terrain and will offer wounded vets a degree of freedom they could not otherwise experience plus an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with their families.
Engraved into one side of the gunstock is the motto of the lodge, “Freedom: God Given, Vet Assured.”
Corley has had an interest in art since he was young and watched his father painting in oils. When he discovered woodworking and learned to use a specialized power pen invented by a fellow carver, he found his passion. He does wood sculptures in addition to engravings and also makes decorative mantles and doors for residences. He currently has a day job at Ace Hardware in Wellington.
A veteran of the Marine Corps, the work of America’s Freedom Lodge is near and dear to Corley’s heart.
“It’s all about helping others,” he said.