September 1-15

Holding History: USS Arizona

xvii12.jpg

Holding a piece of History. 
Not everyday you get to work with a piece of the pier that the USS Arizona was Docked to on that fateful morning of Dec 7th 1941.

No truer statement "Until We Regroup".


Spirit Of Heros Gala

xvii11.jpg

All that's left is to put a coat of stain, then drive it to Dallas to see it get auctioned off. 

Saturday night at "The Ranch Of Lonesome Dove" and 3rd annual SOAH. 
Should be a good time.


Thanks, Coach Switzer

xvii10.jpg

Well, here's the Big News I spoke of yesterday.

With the help of Coach Switzer. I was able to get Sponsored by the company Stihl.

Stihl sent up a package from Texas of numerous things and went into P&K today and they had it all there.

Two top of the line saws, an AM FM radio ear protection, chaps, helmet, couple sets of gloves, 3 different pairs of Eye wear, hats and numerous shirts. 
That is a huge help to me with future carving!

Thank you to Coach, Stihl and everyone else who's helped me get to this point.

Still have a lot of work to do.

#Stihl


VI of XVII

Just shy of 1,700 miles and the 6th carving is done and delivered. 
11 more remaining till the XVII families all have one.


Tribute To The Troops

It was an Honor of mine to be able to attend the Tribute To The Troops Saturday night in Minneapolis and sit with Teresa and Kurt Greniger to one side, and Arlene and Nikki Frokjer to my other.

Humbling way to end the day on Saturday. Spent with Two families who know the term "Never Forget" all to well.

Today marks the 16th anniversary of the Twin Towers falling. 
From that day till present many lives have been changed and continue too, and it's all connected.

The events on that day inevitably put a burning desire to do more in many Americans, especially our young. A desire to serve and do their best to lend a helping hand, just as we see with the Hurricanes. Americans stepping up. 
When those towers fell, many men and woman took an oath knowing the risks, but did it anyway. 
Like many Greniger and Frokjer did the same.
And I can tell you first hand, that the desire they had to help, did that and more. They helped in their everyday mission to save the men next too them, and I wholeheartedly believe that they saved Marines on more then one occasion.

So not only today. But everyday, let us remember all the lives that have been lost in the pat 16 years, the ones on that fateful morning of the 11th, the ones ones who are still over doing the work.

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 12.07.14 PM.png
xvii9.jpg

Josh with the Frokjers

Just dropped Josh off at his home.

Thank you to Josh and his service dog Maggie for accompanying me on this delivery.
Josh is part of XVII Carvings as well and helps run my page.
It was nice to have the support and help along the way. Thank you again and I'll see you in a few days for the Dallas Spirit of Heroes event.

Here he is standing with the Frokjers in Their kitchen.


For Frokjer

xvii6.jpg

Tribute To The Troops held a ceremony at the local Veterans park where there is a Monument for Chad Frokjer. 
Over 100 bikes showed up and numerous other Gold Star Families were present. 
They presented the Frokjers with multiple gifts of appreciation and gratitude.

Arlene asked me to stand up with the family as they honored and remembered Chad. 
That was an Honor for me as well to be part of.
We hugged and got thanks from a line of people for well over an hour.


Thank You Kathy Luke Patron

xvii4.jpg

Had to get another can of Clear sealant. 
Thank you to Kathy Luke Patron and her husband Frank for the generous donation they gave me last month. I used $20 of it to get this can of sealant. This can will seal the carving for Chad Frokjers family and a few more in the future. 
I also just got more donation money from friends and family of theirs, thank you. This all helps with funding.


Warriors aren't trained to Retire.

The carvings come from a desire to do more for others, and to show the families
"We do Remember". 
It's more then just a saying or words, it's in our actions. 
My stacks not huge, my records aren't filled with long descriptions of heroic actions. 
I have been through, seen things and did things that would make most crumble. 
I'm not a Hero and never will be, but I do consider myself a Warrior and Fighter. 
I will fight for the things I believe, and for the ones I love.


Pates In Progress

xvii2.jpg

EJ Pates mother Erma. 
I sent her a few photos of the the last carving I did and delivered to Ohio. She responds with this. 
Humbling to be able to present the families with a carving. 
She will be receiving a carving on October 22nd in Arlington at her sons grave.


"Until We Regroup"

A RED FRIDAY Salute out here at Skydive Airtight. 
Thanks to Tony for the photo, Semper Fi Brother.

August 17-31 2017.

6 of the XVII

It is official. The carving for Chad Frokjer will be done and delivered to his family on September 9th 2017 in Minnesota at his burial place.

This will be the 6th out of 17.


Things happen for a reason

While I am not a religious person I truly believe things happen for a reason. 

Today is just such a day.

I was just talking about the significance of the discovery of the USS Indianapolis last week and today we received SIX pieces of pier from Pearl Harbor that the USS Arizona was docked on that Fateful Day December 7th 1941.

Cole our trainer told us about Johnny who's neighbor at the the gym had received a large portion of them for a construction project. After the project was done, the owner allowed the leftover pieces to be given away. Johnny was looking for something to do with them which made me think of the amazing Anthony Thomaus Marquez his wood-carving talent and his mission of providing his Battlefield Cross #XVIIcarvings to his 17 fallen Brother's Families from his 2011 deployment to Sangin Afghanistan. 

Fate. 

Johnny has given us those pieces, we are giving them to Anthony to use in his mission and Anthony is in turn carving a piece for him and we will also receive a carving that we will auction off to help a K9 charity or charities near to our hearts.

The significance and magnitude and the lives that this passing chain of generosity will touch and the sheer awesomeness is not yet something that we can wrap our minds around yet. I think this will stretch beyond measure and I'm honored to be a part.


Monkeying around

21077728_357300178037039_297053516361167649_n.jpg

Strut hanging, like the twilight zone where he kept seeing a monster on the wing.

Jumped 4 times in the past 4 days. 
It's the only thing that takes my mind off things if just for a moment.


For Joel Wilmer

The presentation to 1st Force Recon Vietnam Veteran Joel Wimer yesterday in Kansas. 

Joel made a donation to XVII Carvings awhile back and this was my way of showing my gratitude. 
I even shaved and put my uniform on for the presentation. 
Only the third time I've worn it in 6 years. 

Damn proud to be part of the same Brotherhood as Joel and many others. 
Joel is the kinda Marine I admire and look up too. 
Thank you for everything and for all the support!

21150245_357217071378683_260515703415861902_n.jpg

www.lookevencloser.com

Friend of mine sent me this this morning. It was on a commercial on A&E.
It shows Tim Chambers with the little Marine with a carving directly in front of them.

This was back in May at Rolling Thuner XXX

http://www.lookevencloser.com


A finished Piece.

21034730_356582114775512_1386786068749074550_n.jpg

We all see something, some see art, some see wood, and some see the meaning behind it. 

Myself, I see it all. 
I see their faces, the last time they smiled or laughed, the last time we talked, hearing the KILL number over the radio. Their motionless body being carried past me on a litter to the medivac chopper. When I look upon this I see that, and more. 
This is more then just a symbol, it is a representation of someone who inevitably gave everything in life up including their life. 

This journey is painful, and will never be easy. 
But I have to let the families know. 

This one I'll be presenting to a Vietnam Veteran, 1st Force Recon Marine. 
He made a generous donation too me awhile back and this is my token of appreciation.


For John Schulze

 Yesterday, at Rina's first birthday party the Tulsa Air National Guard 138th Fighter Wing presented our family a wood carving dedicated to SMSGT  John Schulze  for his years of service made by 17 Carvings. The inscription reads the Airman's Psalm, "His truth shall be your shield. Do not fear the terror by night nor the arrow that flies by day." I find this verse so appropriate for the warriors and Christians that walk among us. John gave some of the best years of his life to the 138th and our family thanks them. Thank you to  Chad Parkey and  Nick Swainston  for making this presentation to our family. — with  Chad Parkey .

Yesterday, at Rina's first birthday party the Tulsa Air National Guard 138th Fighter Wing presented our family a wood carving dedicated to SMSGT John Schulze for his years of service made by 17 Carvings. The inscription reads the Airman's Psalm, "His truth shall be your shield. Do not fear the terror by night nor the arrow that flies by day." I find this verse so appropriate for the warriors and Christians that walk among us. John gave some of the best years of his life to the 138th and our family thanks them. Thank you to Chad Parkeyand Nick Swainston for making this presentation to our family. — with Chad Parkey.

Carving I did back in July was presented to the family of John Schulze yesterday. 
It's good to see where the carvings go and how they give if even the slightest comfort to families.


Thank you Samuel Dusenberry

20604202_354407494992974_5200507769388106846_n.jpg

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae"

I started this back in April, and finished it yesterday, 20 hours total. 
Two days back to back, 14 hours this trip. 3 session altogether, the first session being done in April, and my memorial on my upper right arm is complete. 

Thank you again to Samuel Dusenberry for always going above with your artwork. Love the piece man, it came out even better then I imagined. 

The poem was written by a Doctor in WWI, the poppies represent a sign of remembrance after so much death and destruction on the battlefield.


Not today, IED.

20841047_353817191718671_121246852213242749_n.jpg

6 years ago today shortly after this photo was taken. I found an IED, only problem was. I was standing directly on top on it. 
It was an RF2F remote Det.
The Marine in front of me had a guardian on. Either the guy wasn't there to set it off or the guardian jammed the single. 
After EOD came and took care of the situation, the report stated it was a 15lbs jug of HME. 
I do consider myself lucky on more then one occasion from that deployment.

August 12-16 2017.

5 of XVII: Danny Patron

Physically and emotionally exhausted. 

20841829_352250001875390_5237034171094689215_n.jpg

The fifth promise has been completed here in Canton Ohio. Leaving twelve remaining.

A lot of work has been done, but a lot more still lays ahead. The last time I saw you Patron, I told you I'd see you when I got back. 

It took me 6 years, but I did see you again today. I'll post more about today's presentation here in a bit. 

Have to put some miles on the road.

The support today at the grave was beyond amazing.  
Car after car kept pulling up till there was around 40 people or more present. 
Daniel Patron has a tremendous amount of family and friends that love and remember him dearly. 

Here I'm standing with his immediate family. His mother Kathy, his father Frank. His brother Matthew, his wife Megan and their two children. Patrons niece and nephew. 
The littles one was born 10 months after his uncle was KIA, he's little Danny.

The last time I saw you Patron, I told you I'd see you when I got back. 
It took me 6 years, but I did see you again today. 

20770189_352260848540972_5842050015350182224_n.jpg
20768055_352592405174483_8208210820195707965_n.jpg

The memorial at Perry high school Honoring the 11 service members killed in action from Vietnam till present. 

Daniel Patron who was in the Marine Corps Band his first enlistment came back to his home town in 06 to play the drums for the dedication of this monument. 
He was also one of the men to unveil it that day.
5 years after that, they added his name to the granite slab on the base. 

That is just, I really can't even put that into words. For him to be there the day of the unveiling, not knowing that in just a short time later his name would also be added to it. That's powerful.


Friendly Support

(Screen shot from my phone)

When Coach calls you from Florence Italy to talk about the carvings and the future as in sponsorships and donations. 
Things are moving forward rapidly pertaining to XVII Carvings.

Also Thank you to Coach for his generous donation he personally sent me few weeks back. That will further help in funding my travels.

20799019_10209572972913393_7794775733902781603_n.jpg

Miles and Miles

I left Andy's house at exactly 57,000
Boston-Ohio-Oklahoma
1654 miles one way. 
Got home yesterday little after 4pm. 
Two nights sleeping in the car, hours of driving, but another carving has been completed and delivered. 

Took a step back, sigh of relief, and have already started planning the 6th delivery. Which will be done and delivered to the parents of Chad Frokjer who was KIA on June 30th 2011. 

The delivery will be on Sep 9th in Minnesota.

20914183_352982601802130_8242619015388208052_n.jpg

20882011_353436631756727_5310201785014228837_n.jpg

Thank you to "Operation Flags of Freedom" for lining the road leading to the hall where we gathered and ate lunch. 
Pulling up and driving past all these flags lined up for the occasion was something I'll always be grateful for and remember.

August 8-11 2017.

Has Heart

Today and tomorrow I'm teamed up with "Has Heart" while they're here in Boston. 

They're on a mission going to all 50 states, and pairing a veteran up with graphic designer. The designer and veteran work together to come up with a T-Shirt to tell the veterans story. 
We're working on a shirt to help explain the meaning behind XVII Carvings. Stay tuned for more. 
Tomorrow will be a full day in the studio compiling a final design.


A Break From Carving

I get to do some pretty cool shit at times. 

Shooting a type 96 Japanese Machine Gun in Harvard Massachusetts today. 
This is an authentic Japanese Machine Gun captured from the Pacific Theatre. 

You can barely see it. But on the other side from my left thumb, there's a dint from incoming fire. Possibly the round that could of hit and killed the Japanese Solider operating this weapon back in WWII. 
Thing keeps a pretty good group too. 

I've shot Machine guns in the past, and have been shot at by a machine gun. 
By far, it's more fun being behind the pig then in front of one!


Martelli Studios

Thank you To Matthew Martelli, a local artist here in Boston for the two paint brushes. They helped with the detailing of the EOD Badge.

Matthew is one hell of an artist, I went in his art studio and his painting are pretty amazing. Check his art out. 

Also he talked about offering his painting talents to paint portraits of Fallen Service members. 

If any Gold Star Families would be interested in having a one of a kind Portrait done of their loved one contact Matthew Martelli! This is a great opportunity. His web page will be listed in the link below. 

http://www.martellistudio.com/


Completed Carving

Completed carving for Dan Patron KIA Aug 6th 2011.
Now that all the works done, comes the hard part. 
The delivery to the family.

The Next Carving

The next carving that will be completed here in Boston, will be going to the family of Dan Patron next weekend in Canton Ohio. 
I will be delivering it to them on my drive back to Oklahoma. 

Watch the trailer for the film his brother made, link provided below.

Fort Sam Houston Cemetary

Here are three headstones at Fort Sam Houston cemetery.
John Farias, who was the fourth Gold Star family to receive a carving. 
But there's a story behind the other two and how they're all connected.

Nicholas Hensley who is buried directly next to John was killed in Afghanistan as well. 
He was brought home on the same flight as John to Dover.
They flew back to the states on the same angel flight, and now they both rest beside each other.

Then Thomas Spitzer was one of John's friends, they joined the Marine Corps on the buddy system. 
John was KIA on June 28th 2011 in Sangin. 
Thomas KIA on June 25th 2014 in Sangin.
Two friends and brothers who went in together and inevitably gave their lives 3 years and 3 days apart in the same region of Afghanistan. 
Thomas is Buried a few rows away from John as well.

Operation: Allie

3 years ago yesterday I was able to adopt Allie. This is the short Doc my brother Manny Marquez did about our story.

In the past two years "Operation Allie" has played in 5 film festivals across the country. For the first time its been publicly released.

Boston: The Saluting Marine

In less then a year, the carvings have taken me all over the country.
I've been in Boston the past week doing two carvings, one was being done live with thousands of people around the area. That was huge, a lot of people saw a completed carving and one being done in the process. 
Thank you to everyone at the Boston's Wounded Vet Run for having me at your event. I was Honored to be apart of it, everyone's so nice and appreciated 

I had the opportunity to be apart of another event. It was the single largest Motorcycle event in the nation, and it's in our Nations Capital on Memorial Day weekend.
Rolling Thunder. 
Some might of heard of Tim Chambers or "The Saluting Marine". He stands and renders a salute on 23rd and Constitution for hours as roughly 800,000 bikes pass him by, with estimated 1.2 million people in attendance. 

This year it is with tremendous gratitude that while he stands saluting, he had one of my Battlefield Crosses directly in front of him!! 


I've been doing the carvings for less then a year and in that time I never thought lt'd be taking me all over the country.
Pretty excited to share this with you all. Thank you again to everyone for the support, and thank you to Boston's Wounded Vet Run and Tim Chambers for including me in your Journeys! 

If you've never heard of "The Saluting Marine" here's a short clip below with his story.

Across The Nation

"XVII Carvings"
has taken me all over the country within the past year. At this moment, I have 5 carvings in 5 different states. 
Minnesota, Massachusetts, Washington, Oklahoma, and now Kansas. And the traveling and events keep coming.
The one I did last week in Oregon and delivered to Washington, fulfilled two of the 17 promises I made to myself. 
The most recent one is the one in the photo above. I attend a turkey hunt in Kansas put on for veterans over the weekend, and I did my first on site live carving in front of people. I finished the whole carving on Friday, even due to bad weather. Was still able to complete it in a day, doing the carving under a tent they provided for me. Then Saturday night they had their event gathering and party where at the end they raffled off the carving. All and all it brought in $4,300 in raffle sales. I donated all that money to the organization, and they turned around and insisted on my taking half. Which I couldn't do. 
We settled on an agreement and they ended up donating some back to me. To help with future carvings to Gold Star families. That was a big surprise and in all honesty, will be a big help. I'm hoping I can fill 3 more promises by the end of the year and make that a total of 5 delivered out of the 17. 
If you don't know what I'm doing.

In 2011, our battalion lost 17 Marines in Combat Operations in Sangin. I made a promise to myself to deliver 17 carvings to all the families who lost their son. 
Again, these carving have taken me all across the nation in a short time, and I've meet some amazing people. Thank you all very much for joining me on this journey. Your support is very much appreciated!

(This photo was taken before stain)

Magazine Article

A lot of stuffs been going on with the Carvings, setting up travels, events and what not. 
But one thing I'll share with everyone now is...

Last month I contact the magazine "SKILLSET". The editor got right back with me and said they were interested in doing a piece on the chainsaw carvings, the guy said he loved it and was prior Active Marine himself years back.

This morning he emailed me back and said they want to feature "XVII Carvings" in their "Combat Entrepreneur" section in the summer issue!! That's huge! 
Getting nation wide coverage in a published magazine. Big things are happening in the upcoming months. This being one of them! 
Again thank you to everyone for the support and motivation!

BIG NEWS RELEASED!!!

The end of April I will be in Kansas to do a live carving at the 2017 Bohemian Hills Veterans Turkey Hunt. 
This is a 3 day event put on by a woman Named Catherine Newland. Her and her volunteers work hard to help bring in Veterans so they can enjoy some good Turkey hunting. This year she called me and asked if I'd attend her event to hunt, and I offered to instead do a on location Battlefield Cross Carving. I'll be carving Friday and Saturday, and once completed the carving will be raffled off Saturday evening. 
You can purchase a $20 ticket from any of those contact names in the blue. I'll also have some for purchase later this week. There are only 300 tickets available, with all the proceed going to Catherine and her organization to help fund future hunts for veterans. 

Seeing as this will be my first time to carve in front of people I'm a little nervous. But I'll just block it out and do my thing. 
Anyone is welcome to attend the event and watch. If you're in the Tulsa area and wish to purchase a ticket let me know. If you are the winner of the raffle. I can easily deliver it to you personally, you do not have to be present to win.  
Give the flyer a read and pass it along to anyone you think might be interested in a chance to win a one of a kind carving.

Thanks, Anthony

Cabin Fever Party. February 2017. Boston, MA.

Cabin Fever party is put on by the Boston's Wounded Vet Run. This year they are Honoring 5 wounded service members from Massachusetts. The Cabin Fever party is a pre event before the actual Run in May. 

Here they introduce all the Honorees, while having numerous silent auction items, food and a bands. The party was held outside Boston. This is their seventh year to do the Run and each year it get bigger and bigger with last year having 7,000 attendees at the run. 

Saturday night their were over 650 people who showed up to the party, the organization raised $30k that night alone, that all goes back to the wounded Vets. The carving brought in an astonishing $3,000. I was Honored to be able to attend the Cabin Fever Party and donate my carving to their organization.