Army Veteran Creates Art To Ease Pain of Military Suicides

September 22, 2017 06:48 PM

In a town with America in its name, Troy Walker has turned his garage and driveway into a patriotic workshop.

It's there in Norwood Young America that he creates wooden flag art.

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Walker, a 10-year Army veteran, saws lumber for about an hour a day - cutting down the wood he uses to create stained red, white and blue flags to sell online.

"Before and after each flag, I pray that God gives me enough strength to make another one," he said.

Walker himself served in the Army for 10 years. And after his tank unit returned home, a close friend from the service took his own life.

“22 veterans a day that commit suicide,” Walker said. “He became a statistic."

So earlier this year, Walker started making wood flags and cutting boards to raise money to help cover the cost of a funeral for families of veterans who took their own lives.

It's needed, since the government gives only $300 dollars for expenses.

EXTENDED INTERVIEW: See the full interview with Troy Walker

“It was supposed to be a one-time deal,” Walker said. “It’s repeated five more times. I’ve buried six more friends.”

Walker said he's sold 100 flags and given the money raised to help other military families who have learned about his work.

But last month, the City of Norwood Young America said a resident filed a complaint about what was stored in Walker’s yard.

City officials sent him a letter stating that he needed to remove a green tarp and the items underneath and the wood and other debris outside. It also said a tent set in the driveway would not be permanent to comply with code ordinances.

Yet city administrator Steve Helget said Walker’s property is now up to code, and that he likes Walker’s work.

Walker makes about five wood flags a day while also running his furniture business.

"They didn't die of suicide, they succumbed to their battle wounds, plain and simple," Walker said.

Credits

Eric Chaloux

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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