NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

February 14, 2014

A soaring tribute

Tree stump to be transformed into veterans memorial

In our world of horse, dolphin and dog whisperers, it is no surprise that tree whisperers walk in our midst.

Although not everyone can forge an American bald eagle from the remains of a towering oak tree, Richard Mullen, Diane Drinan and Justin Gordon sure can.

Mullen, a Navy reservist from the Vietnam era and a Georgetown resident, and Drinan, the executive director of the Georgetown Housing Authority, are raising money to hire Gordon, a Groveland wood and sand sculptor, to “release” the hidden eagle from the remains of a 9-foot tree stump.

When completed, the sculpture will honor those who have served military duty. It will also act as a site of beauty for contemplation and reflection within the Trestle Way Georgetown Housing Authority complex.

The idea began with a disaster.

Drinan had issued plans for tree removal at the Trestle Way complex last spring. The morning of the removal, she arrived at work a half-hour early and found that one of the trees already cut was not intended for removal.

“I sent the crew home and began searching for a chain saw artist,” Drinan said. “By the end of the day, I had found out we needed a 9-foot stump. So that is what we did. We cut it to a 9-foot stump.

“Luckily, I came in a half-hour early that day,” she said. “I saw the vets memorial just right when I looked at (the tree), vets because that is who we have here.”

Mullen added that Drinan has a warm spot in her heart for all veterans and the service they have contributed. They both see the sculpture as a way to honor veterans of all wars.

The tree stump is centrally located near the resident office and a turnaround in the Trestle Way complex. A bench already in place will serve as an invitation for anyone to sit and easily commune with the eagle sculpture.

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