Oklahoma Wood Carver Continues To Honor Victims Of Gas Rig Explosion
TERLTON, Oklahoma - A wood carver shares his plans for a memorial he made for the victims of the Pittsburg gas rig explosion.
If you look at the 5-foot tall memorial, you would probably think he's been carving for a long time, but he just started three years ago.
The memorial sculpture for the victims took 2 days and now he's making four more for the victim's families.
The growling sound of a chainsaw isn't exactly tranquil, but for Chuck Williams it is
“They call me the widdler," Williams said, "I'm at peace man, I love carving."
The artist behind 'beyond the bark carvings' was working on a piece featuring four native Americans when he heard about the deadly gas rig explosion in Pittsburg County.
"It's tragic. I have a lot of friends who work in the oil field," Williams said.
He put the project on hold and fired up the chainsaw with a new mission.
"I mean it hits home. You know, fellow Oklahomans," he said.
"I saw a picture that had 'prayers for the families', it had a hard hat, the boots, and the wrench, and I thought well man, that would make a great carving," said Williams.
Using just a chainsaw, he carved the 5-foot memorial and posted it on Facebook.
It was quickly shared more than 10,000 times.
"I'm in awe. I would never imagine,” he said.
Now he's chiseling four more, one for each of the victim's families.
"They're just very thankful and appreciative. I'm just happy I can bring some kind of happiness during this very tragic event," said Williams.
He's personalizing the sycamore stumps by putting their name and Rig 219 on them.
It’s a touching tribute he'll hand-deliver in a few weeks.
"I don't want a spectacle, I don't want a whole lot of attention directed towards me. It's about the families," he said, "I love carving, I love what I do, and to do something that touches people's lives, it makes it all worthwhile."
Williams said he's still waiting to hear from two of the families.
He hopes to have all five carved by the end of the week then they'll take about two weeks to dry.