Eagle Cane Project


Some member of the Northern Virginia Carvers (NVC) have been carving American Eagle heads for canes for presentation to troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Capital Area Woodturners make the shafts, and the soldier's unit and combat history is burnt onto the cane.
Here is a story by Hank Cloutier, a champion of this project, about a very special presentation:
EAGLE CANE PROJECT Hank Cloutier
Dave Brog, head of the local chapter of Red river Rats, wrote the following regarding the Cane presentation to 2nd Lt Harold Noel:
Today was the kind of day of which we need more. I had the pleasure of being in attendance at a special cane presentation to 2nd Lt Harold Noel, 94 years old, a WW II B-24 Navigator, who was shot down on his 15th mission and became a POW at Stalag 3 for over a year. He was freed when Patton drove his tanks into the Stalag.
Hank Cloutier, one of our local River Rats, and his cane carving team, did one for Harold to honor his service to our country. B/G Jeff "Tuna" Johnson, CC of the 113th ANG Wing at Andrews, was honored to host and do the presentation in his Ops Group conference room. The event took place today. In attendance, beside Tuna, were Colonel Kirk "Tick" Pierce, the new OG, Harold's daughter Nancy Noel, son and daughter-in-law Bob and Nancy Noel (Yes. The daughter-in-law is also Nancy), Hank Cloutier, Pete Ward and me. After the presentation, Harold told many stories about his POW experience.
The Stalag 3 was the camp about which "The Great Escape" was filmed. He told of his capture, being held in Vienna, then Nurnberg, then the march to Bavaria. His targets for the first 14 missions were the big ones, Ploesti, Wiener Neustadt and other well defended ones. On one mission the gunners of his plane did shoot down 2 German fighters.
It was an honor for all of us to be present at this ceremony. It was a well worth the hour and a half to honor this genuine American hero. Harold had no idea that it was going to be such a ceremony. His children had just told him that they wanted to take him to Andrews for lunch. Although Harold is from Solomon, MD, his children live in Annapolis and are very familiar with McGarvey's and Mike Ashford.
THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE OF THANKS WAS ALSO RECEIVED BY HANK: Sent: Tue, July 13, 2010 1:42:15 AM Subject: Eagle Cane Project (UNCLASSIFIED) Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: FOUO Gentlemen, Just wanted to express my gratitude for the visit you or one of your fellow volunteers paid to my wounded hero, PFC Andrew Cleek. He is the door gunner that suffered two broken legs in the UH-60 crash on 21 June. He’s a great kid and has a positive attitude. It means a great deal to me as his commander knowing that he is being taken care of at a world class facility. But it is also extremely important for his well-being knowing that America is pulling for him. Visits like the one you paid to him are what makes our military and country what it is. We remember ~ We support Thank you for your genuine concern for Andrew. Respectfully, LTC Scott A. Hasken, CDR, TF No Mercy 1-101st AVN REGT, Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan
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Not knowing anything about this kind of activity, I googled "Eagle Cane Project" and it seems many wood carver clubs, across the country, have "conspired" to carve canes for any veteran needing a cane. I like this idea.
Long ago, I dug up a small cherry tree growing in one of my mother's flower beds and have kept it, with the intention of carving it into a cane... the tree's roots would make a natural handle and that's what initially caught my eye, as to it being transformed into a cane. I am not a dedicated or very good carver. I'll have to search for a local/ nearby carving club to donate my cherry tree.... It's been air drying atop my shop's ceiling joists for at least 10 years.
Sonny
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Many woodcarving clubs participate in creation of the eagle canes. I'm a member of the Cincinnati Woodcarving Guild and we work on them year round. Often the project is passed on to a guild that is closest to the recipient of the cane. This month we were requested to make a few more canes for a more soldiers coming home in our area. One is a young woman who lost her leg in the line of duty in Iraq. While I enjoy carving and giving and helping people, it is sad to know what you are making is for someone who has lost a limb or worse. As a guild of many ages, we all share in the priviledge of giving something special to someone who risked their life for us, and something to remind them that there are people out there who do care, know and appreciate what they do.
`Casper

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