The design is set, the wood carefully selected and work begins. We knew from the start that the
process was going to be lengthy, so we decided to set up a Facebook account allowing family, friends and supporters the opportunity to check in and follow the progression.
We posted pictures daily, as the project progressed so did the likes and the comments. Taking a drawing to a functioning concept is quite challenging. After working in the wood shop for hours, sometimes disappointed with the progress made. It was reassuring and invigorating to log onto Facebook and read the comments. Typically building an outrageous rocker for children to enjoy is pure fun. This was completely different, this was humbling. It was an emotional rollercoaster. Scott posted a picture of Chris in the workshop, it often gave him inspiration and strength, but it was also a constant reminder of the sacrifice this family had endured. As Scott poured his heart and soul into the project, the importance of building a fitting tribute to this young man and his family was ever present.
It was equally challenging promoting the project. Trying to promote supporters and funds for what we were doing, without exploiting the family was like walking a tightrope. There is a fine line between honoring them and causing them pain. We have slipped a few times, but we constantly struggle to honor them with everything we do.
Once the Apache One was ready to be painted, we decided to use a military term”black out” mode. We shared pictures all the way up to this point. While the rocker is being painted and getting it’s finishing touches the pictures stop. We want the finished rocker to be a surprise. So we asked family and friends to share childhood memories and stories celebrating Chris’ life. Each day we shared one of these stories…it was amazing! It turned into our favorite part of the whole project. Stories poured in from across the country; childhood antics, teenage mishaps, beloved memories. Story after story, you began to know this young man and all the lives he touched!
Without even realizing what was happening, we were doing exactly what we set out to do……the news story of another soldier lost is so much more than a name, rank and number. They are this nations’ children! Each leave behind family, friends, lives touched and hurt from their loss. The stories differ greatly, and are yet remarkably similar…and each needs to be told!