Last updated: September 06. 2013 6:34PM - 18 Views

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[caption width="250" caption=" The Senior Citizens Inc. woodcarver group made nine canes to be distributed to injured United States veterans who have suffered leg disabilities in combat since Sept. 11. (Submitted) "][/caption]

MELISSA MACKEY

Staff Writer

An eagle-shaped cane carved by longtime Delaware resident Darlene Vogt serves as a memory of her late uncle, but will be used by a wounded Sept. 11 veteran.

Vogt was one of a group of eight participants in a special project of the woodcarver group at Senior Citizens Inc. The Eagle Cane project, a national woodcarving effort which has spread to 48 states, was introduced to the woodcarver group by Shawnee Hills resident Dave Thomas.

Thomas explained that once finished, the usable walking canes are given to United States veterans who have been injured with leg disabilities in combat since Sept. 11. The Delaware group created nine canes, he said.

“I think it was a really good thing to do for injured veterans that come back and need walking assistance,” Vogt said.

Vogt’s uncle, the late Murrell Smith was a radio operator in the Air Force, she said.

“I’m doing this for him,” Vogt said.

The group — consisting of Thomas, Vogt, Edward Frank, William Hendershot III, Tom Hindes, Sherry Jones, George Shaw and Tommy Strunk — made nine canes in total that will be delivered to the Chillicothe VA Medical Center and passed out to veterans.

Thomas, an Army veteran himself, discovered the project from an issue of Woodcarving Illustrated.

The Eagle Cane Project was founded by Jack Nitz, an Oklahoma resident, and initially was to supply Oklahoma post-Sept. 11 veterans with canes to help with combat-related leg injuries.

As a member of several woodcarving groups, including the Senior Citizens Inc. collective, Thomas said he thought it was a worthwhile, meaningful activity to bring to the club.

“Being a carver from the Columbus group and going to Delaware too, I thought it would be something nice for people to get involved in and help out these wounded veterans,” Thomas said.

The eagle heads are made out of bass wood, which shows detail and finishes nicely, and the shafts of the cane are poplar, Thomas said. Depending on the artist, a cane could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours to finish.

Once carved, the canes can be painted with acrylic or oil paints or brushed with a clear finish. Some are just natural wood as well, Thomas said.

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