Chris Cox, the Mount Pleasant resident who started the Memorial Militia to clean up the National Mall, said he will keep helping veterans around the country.
“The Memorial Militia is shifting gears,” he said. “Right now, while we’re not needed to keep an eye on memorials, we’re going to try to pay it forward with veterans around the country.”
Since his efforts got national attention, more than 1,800 people have joined the network, and that was before another big publicity boost Wednesday, he said.
Crowd It Forward, a group that recognizes selfless deeds and random acts of kindness through Internet donations, gave Cox a chain saw and $1,500 Wednesday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Cox said he will use the money to form a nonprofit organization, and the chain saw will cut up trees for any veteran who needs help.
“These veterans are cranky, stubborn old warriors,” he said. “They don’t ask for help. They aren’t asking anybody for anything. That’s why we’ve got to go and find them and figure out what they need.”
Cox, a chain saw artist, has been working on commissions in the Washington area. He decided to clean up the National Mall on the eve of a Million Vet March last month. Parks Service cleaning crews were furloughed during the government shutdown and trash was piling up. Cox and several hundred volunteers hauled off hundreds of bags of trash.
The chain saw he received Wednesday is too big for carving wood, he said. It’s got a 36-inch blade, and he uses a 14-inch blade on his art. The new tool will join his growing arsenal for the Memorial Militia.
Cox plans to move back to Mount Pleasant on Thanksgiving Day. He said he will continue to recruit volunteers to help veterans wherever he travels for his art.
“They call me the lawn mower man,” he said. “Lawn mower man is bigger than just one man. I want to help everybody find their own inner lawn mower man.”
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.