Carving art out of tragedy

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - At Oaks by the Bay park, Chad Gainey is hard at work with just a few pieces of scaffolding separating him from the ground below.

Chad Gainey stands atop a scaffolding where he is working on creating a sculpture out of a Hurricane Michael damaged tree. (WJHG/WECP)

"Yeah you get quite a bit of traffic coming through and a lot of times people will come by and check the progress," said Gainey.

Most of the trees in the park were badly damaged by Hurricane Michael, but Panama City has tasked Gainey with changing the landscape.

Local resident Liam Sutton said, "he's taking the old trees and instead of people just cutting them down he's turning them into works of art."

Gainey is using his talents to turn what would otherwise be considered an eyesore into an eye catcher.

He said, "this park was completely changed by the storm and maybe this is something that can kind of preserve some of that past and then also re-beautify the park."

Gainey said on average it takes about one to three days to complete a piece of work. But for larger projects, like the one he's currently working on, it will take him six to seven days.

Local resident Dottie Petersen said, "the kids and I were trying to guess what it's going to be when it's finished."

"One of my theories is it could have been a deer with squid horns," said Sutton.

Gainey said the aquatic themed sculpture will represent the St. Andrews area.

"We got big tentacles at the top so we're coming down into an octopus and he'll have other tentacles coming down and then they'll be more fish and wildlife all the way down to the bottom," he said.

So, as the saw dust settles following the storm, Gainey is carving new life out of a hurricane-devastated area.

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