OGDEN, Utah — One Ogden man is using his passion and skills to create hand-carved wooden badges for officers and first responders killed in the line of duty.
His latest project was made for Boulder, Colorado Officer Eric Talley, who was killed in the King Soopers mass shooting on March 22.
"When you get a family that they have a loved one die like that, you know, it shouldn't have happened. It's a terrible, terrible thing," said Nate Eye, owner of 710 Custom Woodwork and creator of the wooden badge memorials. "I want to be able to give back to those people and show that our community cares about them."
Eye started woodworking 12 years ago. Shortly after starting his business, a customer approached him and asked if he could make a large, hand-carved wooden police badge.
"I said, 'Sure, why not,' and I started building police badges," he added.
Since then, Eye has created several badges for fallen officers in Utah and across the country. When he heard about Officer Talley's death in the Boulder shooting, he knew he had to do something.
"Once I read he had seven kids and a wife that he was leaving behind, I said, 'They need a badge,'" Eye said.
He stopped working on other projects and immediately started making the badge for Talley's family.
Eye lost his father in a tragic accident when he was 19 years old — a memory that impacts the work he does to this day.
"It broke my heart. It changed my world," he said. "I try to put myself in those same shoes again when I watch somebody else experience that tragedy like a death, and like the death of Officer Talley."
His work gives families of fallen first responders a lasting memory of their loved one.
"For them to take that home, and then for them to remember that loved one for years to come," he added.
Eye said his wooden badges would not be possible without donations from those in the community.
"There's people that also say, 'Hey, I want to be a part of that gift,'" Eye said. "There was about 15 people that donated on this one. A lot of them are law enforcement, fire personnel or friends from the past."
Each of their names are written in a letter delivered to the family with the wood carved badge. He said he hopes Talley's badge will have a lasting impact on his wife and children.
"What if it's hanging in that little boy's bedroom, and what if he looks at that 10 years from now and he says, 'That was my dad. I'm going to make a difference. I want to serve my community,'" he added.
Officer Talley's badge is being hand-delivered to his family in Colorado on Monday by a Utah police officer.