TAMPA (FOX 13) - A World war II veteran is honoring military troops in a very special way - creating wooden statues of our troops.
At 91-years-old, Dick Mattie loves working in his wood shop, making statues inspired by the story of a parishioner at his church.
Dick's inspiration for the statues came during church services last year when he learned on one of the parishioner's was a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down in Vietnam.
"I made him one and then I found out that his wife was a sergeant in the Army," Mattie said. "So then I started making the women ones."
Mattie served on a submarine in the South Pacific during World War II.
"Actually the boat that I was on, we sunk 13 ships," Mattie said. "I like giving them to veterans and I will give them to anyone who is a veteran."
Mattie has handcrafted more than 300 wooden statues. He works on them a couple of hours each day.
"It makes me feel good," Mattie explained. "And when they say 'thanks,' that's all I need."
Honoring those who have made the greatest sacrifice for their country, in a very personal way, is what he lives for.