RIVERTON — A Riverton man is creating beauty from destruction. Darick Rice, who is a chainsaw carver, is using wood from trees which were downed in the May 22 EF-5 tornado which devastated Joplin to carve eagles which are sold to raise money to assist with continuing relief efforts throughout Joplin.
Rice said just after the tornado he and others were working on the carvings outside of the destroyed high school and after that he was commissioned to make smaller eagle carvings by Joplin Junior ROTC Colonel Paul Norris. The Joplin High School mascot it the eagle.
He said when people ask for the eagles they also want it carved from trees destroyed or damaged in the tornado. Rice said he works with area landfills to bring him the logs from the debris being moved out of Joplin.
Rice said he felt he was not helping as much as he had wanted, but he could not afford to pay out-of-pocket, so he started the chainsaw carvings.
“The thought of being a chainsaw artist was cool,” Rice said.
Rice also said he had only started the chainsaw carvings three months ago.
Rice said he has already carved 30 eagles and has 16 smaller eagles still to carve and then a few larger eagles.
Rice lost a cousin in the storm and was helping with disaster relief efforts immediately after the tornado.
“Everybody from all over the world had a hand in helping,” Rice said.
He also said many of the eagles have been carved from oak trees that were in front of the high school and said they have been saving five of the oak logs for a pavilion being built at the Joplin Schools Complex. He said it will be placed right in the middle of the complex and is going to be a large area. He said the pavilion will feature names of volunteers and will be made of wood from Joplin and will feature some of his carvings.
Rice plans to continue carving eagles for anyone who wants them. He said they auction and raffle off the eagles for tornado relief and does not want to stop the carvings with the Junior ROTC order.
“As long as people want the eagles I will keep carving them,” Rice said.