HomeNewsWoodcarver Honoring Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Through Special Project

Woodcarver Honoring Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Through Special Project

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo by Jason Minto/U.S. Air Force via Getty Images)

One Arizona woodcarver honors the recent fallen Afghanistan soldiers through a unique project.

Thirteen service members died outside Kabul airport in an August explosion. American forces left the country during a time of chaos and confusion. Eleven Marines, one Navy corpsman, and one Army soldier were killed in the Aug. 26. attack.

Honor Carvings owner Darryl Petker appeared on “Fox & Friends Weekend” to talk about his project. The Higley resident’s website states that he started carving as a hobby in 1976. Another key point is that he uses much of his profits to support fallen officers and K-9 with these plaques

Ultimately, more than 5,000 U.S. troops helped with the evacuation of more than 100,000 people after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. 

Project Hopes To Show Families That Fallen Not Forgotten

Petker said he and many others will remember the families and their communities. Not to mention, the man added that he and many Americans “appreciate their sacrifice.”

The veteran’s new mission is getting his unique creations to the still-grieving families.

The Arizona man makes badges and plaques for the military, law enforcement, and others who serve the country. A woodcarver for 45 years, Petker created End of Watch Memorial plaques three years ago to honor deceased first responders.

The veteran created more than 140 memorial plaques for people and organizations in detail. The airport blast killed as many as 200 people including civilians. By the same token, the massive blast wounded hundreds.

Additionally, Petker received many letters and emails of thanks for his patriotic work.

Fallen Afghanistan Servicemembers To Be Honored

White House officials said the 13 U.S. service members would get Congressional Medals of Honor on Friday. 

According to Military.com, President Joe Biden signed a bill awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to these Afghanistan servicemember victims.

Together with U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain of Michigan and U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and Steve Daines, R-Montana, the bill worked its way through Congress. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill in October, and the Senate followed in November correspondingly without any opposition. 

Loved ones of Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Max Soviak (22), Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss (23), and Marines Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui (20), Lance Cpl. David Espinoza (20), Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum (20), Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz (20), Cpl. Hunter Lopez (22), Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover (31), Cpl. Daegan William-Tyeler Page (23), Sgt. Nicole Gee (23), Cpl. Humberto Sanchez (22), Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola (20) and Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo (25) will get medals. Unfortunately, officials have not set a timetable for a ceremony.

Significantly, these people were the first U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan since February 2020.

The 20-year-old War on Terror started in the weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. What’s more the medal has only been awarded 173 times to individuals and groups. According to a House description of the award, it dates back to the American Revolution. In other words, this is Congress’s top honor. It is the “highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.”