Wood carver creates tribute to Jim Mynhier 2011.08.10

Written by David Green.

tree_carverBy DAVID GREEN

Tony Burroughs remembers the day he watched a chainsaw artist at work and thought, “I can do that.”

He had never touched a chainsaw before and the artist he was watching doubted he could do the work.

It wasn’t a case of Tony belittling the skill shown. He just had a feeling that it was something he could learn. After all, he’d never used welding equipment before the day he started creating metal yard ornaments.

“I’d done art work all my life,” he said, including sculpture and clay.

That day was five years ago and he’s been cutting wood into shapes ever since.

The Adrian native has done some work on location on trees still standing, but most of his projects are completed at home. His home is now northeast of Morenci on Weston Road.

He’s working on location currently, turning a dead ash tree at De-Mor Hills Golf Course into a tribute to the late Jim Mynhier who loved vacations in northern Michigan.

Golf course owner Charlie Easter came up with the idea of the Mynhier tribute and worked with Tony to come up with an appropriate design.

“Charlie wanted a bear and an eagle,” Tony said, and he suggested adding a fish.

When complete, the sculture will show an eagle attempting to steal a fish out of the mouth of a bear.

Tony prefers working at home—he already has a full-time job—so he can work when he has the time. The golf course job creates some new challenges.

Tony has limited time when he can work on the project and that time gets cut down further when there are golfers present who don’t appreciate the sound of a chainsaw when they’re teeing off on number one a few feet away.

This is also the tallest tree that Tony has tackled and it’s the first time he’s worked with scaffolding.

The other challenge is the wood.

“I’m pretty good with pine, but this harder stuff.…” he said.

He’s still learning to work with ash and he’s taking his time to get it right. It’s a skill he thinks he better learn because there are plenty of dead ashes that people are going to want carved.

“I’m nothing special,” Tony says about his developing skill. “I’m just hoping it turns out like Charlie is expecting.”

Jim Mynhier

Last year Jim Mynhier took the initiative to help someone in need. A year later, with Jim gone, others are carrying on his work.

Jim planned a golf outing fund-raiser that become a big success.

“It was his idea to do that outing,” said Jeannie Deitrich, “and it was the biggest outing ever. He was so excited about how it turned out.”

The event was going to become an annual fund-raising effort, Jeanne said, and when friends got together after Jim’s funeral, the decision was made to carry it forward. The tournament will become an annual event in memory of Jim.

The golf tournament Saturday is filled, but the public is invited to attend the awards presentation about 7 p.m. or to meet with participants later at the Morenci Eagles Club. People are also encouraged to make donations to help pay for the tree sculpture and a commemorative stone that will be placed near hole number four—the hole where Jim once fired a hole-in-one. A buckeye tree will also be planted at that location.

Proceeds from the golf outing will benefit a local family in need or provide a scholarship for someone studying the building trades.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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