FREEPORT, Fla. (WMBB) — A former firefighter has found a creative way to show his appreciation for first responders, and he does all the work from his bed.
“I got into it because I was told I physically couldn’t do it. And can’t is not in my vocabulary.”
Meet Michael Olson, a former fighter, who suffered a severe back injury. It left him disabled and mostly bedridden.
So, he began creating custom knives by hand from his bed.
“Rather than sit in bed and vegetate I found something that I could do,” Olson said. “It took me a lot of work to get this good. Most people need a vice and a file guide to do what I do freehand and laying in bed.”
His hobby earned him the name “Mike the Knife.”
Olson decided to raffle one of his knives for charity 18 months ago and it’s grown from there, raising a lot of money for non-profits.
The latest raffle will benefit the Walton County Sheriff’s Office K–9 unit, a knife he named “Honor”, designed with the law enforcement support flag.
“I just feel the need to give back to the people that are least respected these days trying to help them buy a new K-9 if that can save one officer’s life or injury it will be worth it,” Olson said.
The sheriff’s office needs at least $15,000 dollars for the new K-9, which is very doable.
With his custom knives, he’s raised over $40,000 for over half a dozen fire departments and local veterans groups. He still has six of his knives to raffle off at local fire departments.
Creating custom knives is a time-consuming process.
“I buy ’em pretty much in this condition and then I spend about 2 hours doing the layout for the file work and then 8 to 10 hours hand filing with diamond files because it’s already hard not too many people are crazy enough to do that. Then, I have to sand it all off re-etch it then reset the etching and it takes 40 to 60 hours to complete after the file,” Olson said.
After paying for materials, Olson loses money on each knife, but it’s his way of giving back.
You can buy tickets for the “Honor” knife raffle at Copeland’s Bait and Tackle until the Veterans Day drawing.
Olson said he is always looking for sponsors if you are interested you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.