ROCKFORD, Iowa - After being medically discharged in 2014, Iowa-native veteran Anthony Martin fell in love with woodcarving. The first time he picked up an electric saw, he was in a wheelchair, healing from having 2 hips and 3 vertebrae replaced and another 8 fused.
"It is my therapy," the veteran tells KIMT.
He travels around the area and is featuring at least one of the 98 Iowans killed-in-action since 9/11 at each of his shows and invites Iowa Gold Star families to attend.
"They suffer, we suffer," he explains. "If we can come together, maybe we can help each other out."
Through the funds raised by the 'Remembering J.T. Tumilson's Last Ride' memorial motorcycle ride, Martin is crafting a wooden batallion flag and battlefield cross for each of those 98 fallen war heroes' families.
Martin is asking for help to continue to make these memorials. He relies on donated logs to create his art, and as of Saturday, he is completely out of wood.
"I've got 20 requests and I can only do 12," says Martin.
He usually makes the memorials out of pine because it's dense when it dries but isn't too heavy for families to move the piece around if they move houses or want to relocate it.