GREENSBURG – Toledo, Ohio based company 3D Custom Carvings has visited several locations in and around Decatur County this summer, demonstrating their impressive chainsaw sculpting skills and generosity with their Chainsaws for Charity program.
Events attended in the area this summer by the Chainsaws for Charity include the Jeff Burton Memorial Ride in Osgood, the 4th of July Parade in Milan, many benefits in Versailles, the Ripley County Fair, the Allie League Benefit, the Nick and Tommy Yorn Benefit, Greensburg Power of the Past, the Cops and Kids Ride in Milan, and CPs Grand Opening in Napoleon.
At each of these events, Chainsaws for Charity displays completed carvings, as well as doing new sculptures at the event. As each event comes to a close, one sculpture is raffled to cover 3D Custom Carving’s expenses and the remainder of the sculptures are raffled or auctioned with the proceeds going directly to the charity holding the event.
Steve Gore, the main chainsaw artist and founder of 3D Custom Carvings, has an interesting, but terrible story as to how Chainsaws for Charity was started. Gore was already well-known for his detailed, beautiful wood carvings when he was attacked in a brutal attempted murder that left him with scores of severe injuries and nearly caused his liver and kidneys to fail.
His skull was fractured from more than a dozen hits to the head with a baseball bat and tire iron. His left arm was shattered, more than 30 blood clots formed in his leg, severe bruises and lacerations covered much of his body and his hands had been stomped and smashed.
Following the attack, Gore was taken to his home and left to lie on the ground for more than 15 hours before being found. His phone had been taken and his vehicle disabled, though he was in no condition to use either.
After being struck 59 times overall with the bat and tire iron, Gore’s injuries caused doctors to give him a three-percent chance of survival. His family was told to start making funeral arrangements when Gore said he was touched by God.
Though he recovered over the next two years without undergoing a single surgery, which is miraculous in itself, Gore was left mentally and emotionally damaged. His hands recovered, but his creativity and will to make art had vanished. He sank deeper into depression, becoming a difficult person to be around.
During his emotional recovery, Gore’s story was seen by Vietnam veterans, who contacted him for a chance to speak. The veterans sat and talked to Gore, who is a veteran himself, for 11 hours, explaining that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or shell-shock, as it was called in their days. Gore said they saved his life by teaching him how to handle and manage his PTSD.
“It’s a giant learning curve, but now I have a group and they are always there to talk me down when something comes up, like the nightmares or the flashbacks,” Gore said.
As a thank you, Gore created a memorial sculpture to honor Vietnam veterans. When he asked if there was anything else he could do to help them, they simply told him to “pay it forward,” something he took to heart. The sculpture is now housed in the Ohio Veteran’s Home War Museum.
Over the course of his recovery, Gore has lost his home and business, having to start over with one chainsaw and a bag of clothes while living in a small hotel room. His girlfriend, Marcella Brescol, nursed him back to physical health, but was unable to heal his unseen wounds. Brescol fought valiantly against cancer before succumbing in May of 2012. She made Gore promise to finish his in-progress monument to fallen military veterans.
After her death, Gore made good on that promise. He locked himself in his barn and started working furiously on the detailed sculpture. Though it took only nine hours to carve, the painting and detail work on the “Tribute to Fallen Soldiers II” memorial took over 600 hours. He said each tiny detail holds significance and the piece is so full of raw emotion that he could never duplicate it exactly.
The Tribute II sculpture has been on a nationwide tour with the American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, gathering attention in many places and even making a television appearance on “Full Throttle Saloon” during a performance by Jackal. Gore stated that the Tribute II carving is his undisputed favorite piece of completed work because it is so intensely personal to him.
Following the tour, Gore returned home and spent the winter carving. When his sponsor, Stihl, asked him what he’d like to do to top the previous year, Gore called back and said he wanted to go to small-town America, where Stihl products are used and sold, to work with direct-impact charities.
“Instead of people having to go through all the red tape, we go, we carve, we raffle, and at the end of the night, they get an envelope full of cash,” Gore said.
Stihl agreed and Chainsaws for Charity was born. Demand has been extremely high, according to Gore. He reported that he and the 3D Custom Carving crew left for their current tour February 15 and have only been home for four days since.
In addition to Gore, Chainsaws for Charity includes director of marketing and promotions Michael Skellie, as well as chainsaw artists Paul Moon and Gary Instrucker. While out on location for events, Chainsaws for Charity also attempts to contact local chainsaw artists to work at the benefits, to help build clientele for the artist after the event.
Gore said his favorite part of running Chainsaws for Charity is seeing the impact his work makes. “With what happened to me, I know what it’s like to have life thrown into chaos. What it’s like to watch someone you love die, to lose everything. To be able to hand out an envelope that will pay for a child’s medicine, or keep a house, or help in any way- that’s an amazing feeling. I can’t change their life forever, but I can change it for that day and I love it.”
During his recent appearance at the Greensburg Power of the Past, Gore, who has been carving wood for 16 years, was visited by a local 4th grade class, who bombarded him with questions. He said it was one of the highlights of his career. Gore reported that the students were very inquisitive and curious and asked some great questions.
When asked why he donates so much of his time and talent to charity, Gore said, “Someone gave me a hand up and I’m paying it forward. There’s a lot of guys who can fix your car, put on a new roof, or build you a house, but only a handful of guys in the world who can do what I do.”
3D Custom Carvings is the only Stihl sponsored artist in the world and their charity work would be much more difficult to accomplish without the support of their sponsors. In addition to Stihl Corporation, Chainsaws for Charity and 3D Custom Carvings are sponsored by Bandit Chippers, Epilogue Lasers and Holley Performance Products.
Chainsaws for Charity had planned to tour the east coast and southern part of the country this year, but have been unable to make it out of Southern Indiana. They are currently working on a very large, elaborate piece in Batesville.
“We are booked in Indiana all the way up to the first week in October. We are working our way further and further out and want to thank the people in this part of the state. Everyone has treated us like family and we are so thankful for it,” Gore said.
“If someone is having trouble, please get in touch with us. We love to help people and we have been there. We understand and we want to help,” he added.
To contact Gore and 3D Custom Carvings, call 513-461-0380 or email email@example.com.
Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004