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Knoxville craftsman honors veterans with 15-foot-tall roadside sculpture

An artist in Knoxville is undertaking his biggest project yet to honor veterans with a huge roadside sculpture. 

Jeff Banning, owner of Wood Carved Creations, has been carving the 15-foot tall sculpture along Washington Pike that features a Bald Eagle and battlefield cross since Wednesday, using a chainsaw to create the work of art.

“This is something special, this is the biggest project I’ve taken on,” Banning said. “It stands about fifteen feet tall.” “I got contacted by a military vet that wanted to do something to give back to the community. We started yesterday and carved the eagle. Today I’m working on a battlefield cross on the bottom.”

“There’s a lot of people slowing down to see what’s going on,” he added.

It even caught the attention of the faculty of a local school, who brought some students to watch the sculpture take shape. 

“We were about to have lunch at my school and my teacher was all like hurry up get on the bus the principal says come out here and watch this a man is carving an eagle out of a tree,” said Faith Jennings of Tabernacle Christian Academy, “We’re like, “Woah, that’s cool. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this on this scale.”

“For me being a Marine vet obviously its special to me,” Banning said. “I guess there’s a lot of military that live in and about the area and drive by. It’s nice to kind of help to give back to the community and contribute.”

“I hope that for years to come long after I’m gone that the tree will still be here and represent all the fine people that have served this country and the fine people in Knox County.”