National Mall Mower Makes a Living Sculpting Wood

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Chris Cox. (Credit: John Domen/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

Chris Cox. (Credit: John Domen/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

LORTON, Va. (CBSDC) — The man who was mowing lawns and clearing fallen branches on the National Mall last week, telling curious passersby that he wanted it to keep it tidy while Park Service employees are furloughed, is also handy in other ways, it turns out.

Chris Cox’s story went viral last week after being reported first by WNEW. He told reporter John Domen on Wednesday that he wasn’t motivated by politics, but felt obligated to help as veterans prepared to descend on the nation’s capital for the Million Vet March.

On Monday, WNEW followed up with Cox, a Mount Pleasant, S.C., native who is currently staying in Lorton, Va., with a friend. And when he’s not using his chainsaw to clear tree branches from D.C. running paths, he’s creating and selling wooden sculptures of wildlife.

But while Cox is taking a short break to work on his day job, he says he will still try to help maintain the growth on and near the National Mall and memorials while the government shutdown continues.

Even though he doesn’t mind pitching in for the time being, “these guys want to come back and earn their paycheck,” he says. But, “they’re probably glad I’m out here so when they get back to work they’re not going to be overwhelmed.”

Just like most Americans, Cox says he’s tired of the finger-pointing and lack of accountability in Congress.

A 2011 report in the Charleston City Paper says Cox discovered his talent with chainsaws when he was paying for college by clearing debris after hurricanes and cutting down trees.

After graduation, he briefly followed in his father’s footsteps, moving to D.C. to work in politics. Ultimately, though, he decided to become a full-time chainsaw artist.

When Domen visited him Monday, Cox was carving a set of bears that he said could fetch between $250 and $300 a piece roadside. The City Paper report says he also excels at sea turtles, dolphins, pelicans and tiki heads.

Chris Cox. (Credit: John Domen/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

Chris Cox. (Credit: John Domen/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

WNEW’s John Domen contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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