Veteran honors fallen service members with new memorial project

Veterans Day is a day for us to remember those who have served our country. One Spokane man is looking to honor those veterans every day, by creating handcrafted memorials.

Creating art has always been a passion for Austin Waggoner. Well, his second passion that is.

“The military was a calling for me. I always wanted to do it. I started when I was 16 trying to get in,” said Waggoner.

He officially joined the military when he was just 19-years-old and served for nearly 18 years. While he may have come home, a lot of the friends he served with didn’t.

“I came home from Afghanistan in 2012,” said Waggoner. “Being in the combat arms, you’re going to deal with a lot of loss.”

Instead of giving up, Waggoner turned to his art. At first, he became a tattoo artist.

“I got into tattooing because I got a bad tattoo. I kind of fell out of it and lost passion and that’s when I discovered engraving,” said Waggoner.

It wasn’t until last month that he turned his new-found hobby into his passion project.

Waggoner prints out a picture of the fallen soldiers face, then spends nearly 40 hours engraving the photo. It’s not about the money. It’s about taking both passions and combining them into one.

“It’s always been something I wanted to do or just find a way to honor those that I’ve served with,” Waggoner said, “I tell people I want this to be my legacy. You can use your talent to make a lot of money, or you can use your talent to do some good.”

It’s about honoring those that put their lives on the line for us each and every day.

If you’d like to submit a memorial request or make a donation, you can e-mail Austin Waggoner at honorthefallenproject @gmail.com.