BREWER/HOLDEN – If you stop by Holden PD, you’ll soon be greeted by a large, handcrafted wooden American flag on display in the lobby.
The piece of art has a unique connection to the department.
“A tree is a living thing and it has a story, so I like highlighting that story,” said Bruce Graybill, standing in his wood shop, which is a camper he gutted and transformed in his back yard in Brewer.
Graybill, owner of Sider’s Woodcrafting, has a way with woods.
“You have ash, bird’s eye maple, bubinga, zebrano, yellow heart, walnut,” he explained, pointing to a piece that would soon become a couple of clip boards.
The Brewer resident began woodworking in 2015 when he and his wife had their first child as a way to make some extra money.
“So with just a table saw and a belt sander, I started making cutting boards. One thing led to another, now I make a lot of cutting boards and different things too,” Graybill said.
In four years, Graybill taught himself how to create masterpieces to sell here in Maine and nationwide.
“Pretty much whatever you can think of, we can try and make,” Graybill said.
His most recent project hit home.
Graybill also works part-time as a Holden police officer.
“He’s been here close to a decade. He’s a hard worker and I have a lot of respect for him on all kinds of levels,” said Holden Police Chief Chris Greeley.
So when the department was looking to buy an American flag, he was all in.
“It kinda brings my two passions together, woodworking and law enforcement,” said Graybill.
It took about six hours to craft the six-foot flag, with each star carved by hand.
The piece will soon hang proudly in the department’s lobby, as both a patriotic symbol and proof there’s much more to police officers than the badge they wear.
“He’s got two jobs and the business, two young kids and a wife,” Greeley said. “I mean, he really is an amazing guy.”
As for the future, Graybill says he’ll still serve his community, while hoping his woodcrafting business grows.
“That’s the American dream, waking up every day and getting to do something you love to do and make money at the same time,” said Graybill.
He said he’s going to start making more flags, in addition to the products he already makes.
For more information, visit his website.