A local man took a devastating situation in his front yard and turned it into something beautiful. A red, white, and blue eagle now stands on Baldwin Avenue in Panama City.
Hurricane Michael’s destruction left Sonny Brewer asking himself a question. “What am I gonna do with this stump? I gotta make use of it,” he said. He wanted to inspire those struggling and says our national symbol will do that without a doubt.
Brewer hired local sculptor Chad Gainey to turn his tree stump into a work of art.
“It’s a symbol of courage, integrity, can-do attitude, will-do attitude,” Brewer, a Vietnam veteran, said. It’s not only a symbol but a sign that everything will be okay. Each passing minute and another carving, those making their way down Baldwin stopped and admired the creation.
“It’s kind of inspiring. [It’s] something to do with a really old tree instead of just wasting it,” a boy walking by said. “I live over by the cove and I imagine other people are going to start doing this,” another man said.
Some have survived battles even larger than Michael. “I fought for this country. I have friends under that flag. That flag means a lot to me,” a veteran who stopped their car to see the sculpture said.
“The way this community has been devastated, this means so much to me. The feeling you have is just indescribable,” another veteran said.
What used to give shade became debris, and then a canvas. Now, it’s a red white and blue statue of strength.
“It’s my tree but the symbol belongs to the people of Panama City,” Brewer said. “You can look back and say wow I started with a dead tree and now it’s a piece of art,” Chad Gainey, the sculptor, said.
You can find the tree near the corner of Baldwin Avenue and State Street in Panama City.