AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Three patriotic Mainers started crafting and donating eagle head canes to veterans four years ago. One thousand canes later, they've become a fixture at Togus VA Hospital.
George Gunning, his wife Donna, and friend Burt Truman started making the canes as a simple way to thank veterans.
"One veteran cried, he said I've never got anything without having to go through a whole bunch of paper work or red tape," said George Gunning.
"He said, 'You're just giving me the cane?' I said, 'That's about it.'"
They'll only accept donations and a thank you -- no payments.
"I told George, you start selling canes, I'm done," said Truman.
Each cane is personalized with the veteran's name and military branch.
"They put a lot of work and effort into that," said John Poulin, a veteran who uses his cane when on days his arthritis makes it too painful to walk.
"I'm proud [of my cane," he said.
The canes have become so popular with Maine veterans, that Togus VA Hospital in Augusta now has the 1000th Eagle Cane on display in the lobby.
It's now a symbol of how Mainers feel about their veterans.
"Originally I'm from Georgia, New Jersey, New York, but moving to Maine, I find that people here...are much more appreciative of their veterans than in any other state I've been in," said George Mathis, Maine Commander of the Disabled American Veterans.
Any veteran who would like a personalized Eagle Cane can request one through Togus Hospital.