Illinois Veteran Making Canes for Fellow Vets Out of Recycled Christmas Trees

by Jonathan Howard

Veterans can do some amazing things. One Illinois veteran is keeping the spirit of the Holiday season in mind with his project.

For Navy vet Rich Bundy, giving is just part of what he does. Based out of Rockford, Bundy uses his woodworking skills to help other vets in need. With just recycled Christmas trees he fashions walking sticks and canes for those that need them. He got the idea from a Facebook post showing a Florida man doing something similar.

So, now Bundy uses his skills to help those that might need some extra support.

“I know how much it means to a lot of people,” he said. “You know if they can get a nice, handmade cane, it makes their day, and it makes my day.”

This isn’t a new project, either. The Illinois veteran has done this for the last few years and plans to keep doing it for as long as he can. Bundy volunteered to join the Navy in 1979. He served until 1985 and a number of his family members have served as well.

Every year folks get Christmas trees and every year there are tons that get thrown out. Taking that wood and making something of it, is special. Then, donating the items to veterans in need, just makes the whole situation perfect. Bundy should be applauded for his actions, that’s for sure.

Illinois Veteran Has Family History of Military Service

One of the things that Bundy talked about was his service. WIFR talked to the Illinois veteran. During the discussion, he talked about the canes he made, of course, and also touched on what he called his “American duty.” He embodies the spirit of service so well.

“My family was in the service,” he said, “My dad, my step-dad, cousins, uncles, aunts, so I figured that was my American duty, you know?”

There are so many that appreciate Bundy and what he does for the vets in his community. However, it has been the response from the community at large that has made his program such a success. Folks send Bundy their old trees and he gets to make his walking sticks and canes. He has tons of folks reach out to him during the holiday season.

Much better use of the trees than just throwing them in the bonfire pit, if you ask me. Bundy wants to make it clear that he is accepting trees this season. He will happily take in trees and is looking forward to driving around looking for others in peoples’ front yards.

“I get people that drop them by, anonymously, I don’t know who and I come open the door and there is [sic] trees in my driveway, I don’t care, bring them over!” the Illinois veteran lamented.