OGDEN (ABC4 News) – It’s been two weeks since a suicide bomber killed 13 U.S. service members outside of the Kabul Airport including Marine Staff Sergeant Taylor Hoover of Midvale and Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum of Jackson, Wyoming. Now their families are about to receive a special gift from a craftsman in Ogden.
Soon after learning of the tragedy, Nate Eye went into his garage…and went to work.
For the past seven years, the owner of 710 Custom Woodwork has been turning poplar boards into giant-size badges and logos which he donates to the families of fallen officers and firefighters.
“The most emotional part is showing up to the funerals and giving them to the families,” Eye told ABC4 News. “It’s absolutely heartbreaking…I’ve driven home from funerals just bawling and I didn’t even know the guy.”
Last week, Eye worked throughout the day and night to create two U.S. Marine Corps insignias for the grieving families of Staff Sergeant Hoover and Lance Corporal McCollum.
Each sign typically takes him 22 hours to saw, sand, carve and paint but he finished each of these in just 11 hours.
“Sometimes I like to think I have a little bit of help,” he said. “Maybe I’ve got a couple of guardian angels helping me.”
Eye, a single dad to a five-year-old daughter who tragically lost his own father at the age of 18, refuses to accept any payment for his time or materials. He says the donated pieces are his small way of paying back the families of those who sacrificed everything in their service.
Sgt. McCollum’s wife is 39 weeks pregnant with their first child, a little girl who will never know her father.
“My heart breaks for them. I just can’t imagine having an unborn daughter. I want that baby girl to look at this Marines sign years from now and say ‘My Dad was a hero’,” he said. “Sgt. Hoover in Salt Lake City. I want his Dad to look at this sign and say ‘That was my son’ and he died for a cause…These men and women need to be remembered.”
Eye tells ABC4 News that he plans to present the signs to Staff Sergeant Hoover’s father Darin and Lance Corporal McCollum’s widow Gigi sometime next week.
To learn more about Nate’s projects, go to: https://www.facebook.com/710-Custom-Woodwork-108377890530626/