Artist - Steve Gore
Steve Gore is a chainsaw artist who is using his God-given talent to help people in need. Steve was well-known for his detailed, beautiful wood carvings when, in 2009, he was brutally attacked in an attempted murder that left him with severe injuries and nearly caused liver and kidney failure.
The damage was extensive. His skull was fractured , His left arm was shattered, his kidneys and liver were shutting down and more than 30 blood clots formed in his leg, severe bruises and lacerations covered much of his body, and his hands had been broken. He was struck a total of 59 times. He was found 15 hours later and given a 3% chance of survival.
Though he recovered over the next two years without undergoing a single surgery, he was left mentally and emotionally damaged. His hands recovered, but his creativity and will to make art had vanished. He fell into a deep depression and became emotionally distant. He could no longer be around family and friends. It was almost impossible for him to be in a crowd.
Thankfully, during this time of struggle, he met some Vietnam veterans. They talked to Steve, a veteran himself, for 11 hours, explaining that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Even though Steve’s PTSD is non-combat-related, the symptoms and suffering are the same regardless of the cause. The vets saved his life by teaching him how to identify his “triggers”, the circumstances and thoughts that bring on a bout of PTSD. By providing him with this insight, Steve is better able to manage his PTSD, and now shares these tips with others.
While healing, Steve lost his home and business, and his girlfriend, Marcella Brescoll, to cancer. He started over with one chainsaw and a bag of clothes while living in a small hotel room. Rather than giving in to his grief and demons, Steve refocused and fulfilled the promises he made to Marci and the veterans who helped him – he completed work on the “Tribute to Fallen Soldiers II” memorial sculpture, which was on a nationwide tour with the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, and he is “paying it forward” by helping others.
Following the Wall tour, Steve decided to go to small-town America to work with direct-impact charities and individuals, and “Chainsaws for Charity™” was born. CFC travels the country looking for families or causes who need help.
In January 2014, Steve was asked to create a monument for two fallen Toledo firefighters. Since that time, this memorial has evolved into a national tribute to fallen first responders, from military to law enforcement. The tribute is being called the “American First Responders Memorial Monument.”
Steve feels a real kinship with the first responders, as a large number of these brave men and women also suffer from PTSD and have a high rate of suicide. It's Steve's hope that the AFRMM will go on a national tour where he can help continue to pay it forward and educate PTSD sufferers all across the country. One of his goals is to change the definition of PTSD: P.roud T.ough S.trong D.etermined.
It has taken a great deal of strength and courage for Steve to overcome and survive the obstacles in his path. He simply follows the plan God has for him. He is an inspiration and the epitome of what it means to live a “Rare Life.”
Director of Promotions & Marketing - Michael Skellie
Mike's unique approach to marketing and promotional campaigning led to his nomination and acceptance into the "Global Who's Who" in April of 2013.
He continues to impress sponsors and spectators alike with the ability to integrate any product or service with chainsaw carving.
"All things are relevant to art. Locating the factor is key to a successful promotion." Michael J. Skellie 2014
Photographer - Richard "Jake" Jacobsen
I was sitting by a lake in Alaska in the fall of 2011 with a crappy point and shoot camera just messing around. I snapped a different angle photo of this beautiful reflection in the lake. It was to the point where it was hard to determine what way was up or down with out really looking hard. This was a fluke shot but something fired up inside me, nothing I have felt before. The creative thoughts started flowing but I did not have the equipment to make imagination a reality.
We fast-forward 2 years in time and at this time I have a decent camera to where I can control parts of my image, but I still didn’t have a clue how to use it. Still frustrated and confused on how to use this camera and adjust the settings, I get moved in my everyday job. Just talking with my boss I mention this camera and with no knowledge of his hobby he starts talking about photography. He tells me to join him this weekend cause he is shooting with a local model in downtown Dayton. With some hesitation I agree to meet up with him and this model, scared and intimidated I show up to this scheduled shoot still not having a clue what I am doing.
During the shoot he starts teaching me what to do and how to operate my camera. After the shoot he asks me how I felt and what I thought, I said I felt good and now I am hooked into this realm of photography. I start asking how he meets up with models and how this all works, he hooked me up with a website where I can display my work and then also network with models. Only 2 months into this whole being a “photographer” I get a message from the wonderful Charlie Kristine wanting to do a shoot, I agree and the shoot came out wonderful plus the fact that my wife was cool with me shooting a nude model made the process go even better.
With her support she said I should submit the photos for publication, so I did and they got picked up! This put a drive in me that I have never felt before - a sense of accomplishment in something I have done and that lead to 4 more publications, I was on to something. So I did the model thing as well as started shooting with my best friend's band to give myself a different challenge where the modeling stuff was getting to be to easy.
The band photography took off and I was capturing awesome photos but was thirsty for more so I looked at doing things associated with the band, when they did events I was going as well. I wanted to capture the things the band was associating them selves with, this led to charity events that the band wanted to be a part of and support. One specifically stands out in my mind, Rock The Boob, a cancer awareness event that was held just outside Cincinnati, OH. There I captured some great photos of all the bands and all the other events that were going on.
There was this chainsaw carver Steve Gore that was with Chainsaws for Charity that was doing a sculpture that was going to be donated for auction. I sat and thought how in the world am I going to shoot this? Went up and introduced myself to Steve and we talked. He told me a little about the charity and his story and I felt something click, still, to this day, I don’t know what it was but it was powerful. He said he had to start so I let him be to do his thing, I saw him walk off in the distance and asked his friend Mikey, “What is he doing?” He said, “Going to talk to the big man.” He then went to his knees and started praying. I thought to myself how can I capture this powerful moment? Right there next to me was the block he was going to be cutting on so I stepped back framed the photo with the edge of the block seeing that’s what was gong to be raising money for this charity and helping those in need out. “Click” and there was one of the most powerful images I have ever captured. Then it was down hill from there.
Fast forward a little over a year from then I get a text, "CALL ME", I was like what the hell. Talk with Steve for a little about this BIG project and what it was going to be and he asked me to be a part of it. Saw the sketch and design and was in 100%, knowing how it was just being around this charity I could not resist. The future is bright and ever growing! So being only in photography for little over 1.5 years things are coming together.
Nahqui is our Head of Security. She is a 3-year-old Black Belgian German Shepherd. In addition to being beautiful and fearless, she is, by far, the smartest dog we've ever been around.
She makes sure the Chainsaws for Charity team members are safe and well protected at all times.
Nahqui loves to go "bye-bye in the truck". She also very much enjoys plain double cheeseburgers from McDonald's, although she won't eat the bun.