Canadian Woodworking

Scrolling for Sacrifice

Author: Michelle Stockal
Photos: Original Photo by Sgt Ron Hartlan; scroll carving photo by James Bell; lead photo by Kevin Green
Published: August September 2011
Scrolling for sacrifice
Scrolling for sacrifice

A scroll saw organization is using a natural resource to express national gratitude to military families

As any woodworker will tell you, an ordinary piece of wood can be used to create an extraordinary statement. Much like in our nation of many, one person can make an exceptional sacrifice. A group of woodworkers wanted to pay tribute to those risking their lives through the Canadian forces that are serving overseas. The Wildrose Scrollers design portraits in wood for the families of fallen soldiers; a simple yet elegant way to offer their respect.

A Tribute in Wood
Cpl. Glen Arnold was killed by a suicide bomber during a foot patrol in Afghanistan on September 18, 2006.

Cpl. Glen Arnold


Located in the Edmonton area, The Wildrose Scrollers are part of a plan called the Canadian Comfort and Remembrance Program (CCRP). This service was origi­nally formed by a quilting guild and the military still offers quilts as part of their gratitude package. CCRP hopes to tangi­bly demonstrate Canadians’ appreciation for the great sacrifices made by members of the armed forces. The Scrollers joined the initiative in 2006.

Working through the Canadian military, willing families provide the volunteers a picture of their loved one. This photo­graph could reflect the member’s military career or be a cherished image from child­hood. The family chooses what print they would like to use and the Scrollers turn this photo into a fantastic tribute.

On average, each project takes around 20 hours to complete. Designing the template is often what varies the amount of time needed from piece to piece. The template indicates which parts of the wood to remove. Remove too much and the art will fall apart; remove too little and the image is often not recognizable. Two plaques are cut simultaneously, since the finished work is often deliv­ered to mothers and spouses. When complete, the finished portrait is on 3/8″ cherry, 9×11″. More than one per­son can participate in this endeavour. Therefore, on the back of the portrait are the names of the volunteers who were part of the production. Stan Buller, the president of the Wildrose Scrollers, speaks with endless pride on the work offered to the families. He and Vice President Kevin Green recall with great fondness the time spent on the projects to date. The human connection makes this so much more than a simple wood­working project. In all, over 110 soldiers have been honoured.

Why did the Scrollers get interested in this program? The story began in 2005 after the tragedy in Mayerthorpe, Alberta. Portraits for the fallen officers’ were given to the families who suf­fered this heartbreaking loss. Wishing to continue this form of recognition, the Wildrose Scrollers joined the CCRP. This acknowledgment has grown to honour Canadian soldiers primarily serving in Afghanistan.

The Wildrose Scrollers have been able to express their appreciation to those who serve our country. As any woodworker will tell you, the more per­sonal the project, the more it comes from the heart. For further information, please contact Stan Buller at [email protected]


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