BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) - Jason Willis began working with wood as a way to honor his father, now he's using that skill to honor first responders.
Willis said it all started when he started making headboards.
"My wife and I, we went to a furniture store to look for one and the only ones we found that we like were like $500 to $600. I looked at my wife like, 'Babe, I can make us one for $40,'" he recalled.
On Monday, the Benton Police Department posted a photo on Facebook of Willis, alongside Chief Kirk Lane, holding a piece he donated to the department.
"It just struck me as something I felt like I needed to do. Especially with everything going on with this country right now. I feel like the people who protect us need to know there are people out here who have their back," he said.
A hobby that Willis turned into a way to pay homage. It's not something he expects to retire on, but it's been a hobby of his since he was a kid.
We linked up with Willis at his back yard studio in Benton, to see how he makes the flags. It all starts with a miter saw where he cuts 13 slats to represent the stripes. From there, it's a little touch of propane.
"My wife thinks I started making these because I like playing with fire and it's funny how well she knows me,” Willis said holding a lit propane torch.
Willis said there isn't a right or wrong way for him when it comes to burning the wood.
"I want it to look more rustic," Willis said while working. "Doing this really brings out the grain of the wood."
A little more propane and some nails are the next stop in the process.
"I'm not going to lie, it's kind of weird doing this in front of somebody,” he joked.
Next in the process Willis will paint the wood and put the finishing touches with a bit of clear coat.
"I go pretty heavy on it to give a good shine to it," he explained.
After all of that, the flag is complete and ready to be sold to whoever may want it.
If you want, you can purchase Wallis' Creations at Art of Men's Cuts in Bryant.
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