KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One New Hampshire woodcarver and his friend have made it their mission to honor fallen service members.
Stephen Wing and Dan Peterson are hand-delivering wooden statues to the 13 families who lost a loved one in Afghanistan.
“I couldn’t just do one,” said Steve. “So I decided to do all 13.”
Sunday, they made their way to Tennessee to deliver a carving to Staff Sargeant Ryan Knauss’ family.
Steve and Dan have been friends for about 25 years. Now, they’re both in the logging, lumber, and carving business and were together the day the news broke about the 13 soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
Dan explained, “The day of the tragedy we were talking, I had gone up to see him and move some stuff around with him, and he had already done one of them for a friend of ours.”
Steve had made a carving of a fallen soldier cross for one of their mutual friends and decided to make a few more for the families of the 13 fallen.
“I don’t know how he did it but it only took him ten days and he had everyone’s addresses and names,” said Dan.
Steve explained, “I’m lucky to be able to give something like this, that’s valued like that. To me they’re all, well they are a little bit more than wood now, but the emotions that go behind it I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I started carving it and what they actually mean to service members. It’s brought a new light to what they do over there.”
At first, Steve thought he could ship them to each of the families, but after the first one broke on its way, Steve and Dan decided to hand-deliver each one.
“We obviously never thought we would see ourselves [doing] such a big thing all across the country,” Dan added.
Four adults, one camper, and Steve’s Dog named Bear are traveling across the country for one mission.
“I don’t think they get enough credit because they do what all of us can to protect this country,” said Dan. “Without them, it wouldn’t be America.”
If you would like to help them financially or follow their journey, you can click here.