Tree stump surprise for TMP-Marian grads

Margaret Allen
TMP-Marian maintenance worker Steve Werth began carving Saturday on a cedar tree stump on the campus to create the Catholic school's logo.

Thomas More Prep-Marian maintenance worker Steve Werth on Saturday morning took a chainsaw to a tall cedar stump on the grounds of the private Catholic school.

By afternoon he’d carved out a three-dimensional TMP logo.

By Sunday afternoon he’d nearly finished painting it the signature Monarch mascot blue and white colors of the junior-senior high school.

“I mean, over the weekend it was just a stump, and the next thing I know I got this done here,” Werth said Saturday, pausing the saw. “I’ll put a couple more coats on between now and graduation, just make it a little brighter.”

Werth said he got the idea when he heard the Knights of Columbus group was cutting down the big tree that stands sentry across from the Al Billinger Fieldhouse at the stop sign intersection of Fr. Earl Befort Drive and Joe Hertel Court.

It’s not the first time he’s made artistic school logos, but previously they’ve been one-dimensional spray paintings on the sprawling grassy lawn or on the paved parking lot.

With a special paint mixed by Heartland Building Center Inc. for grass, logos like the Monarch buffalo head or the TMP cross have typically measured anywhere from 70 to 100 feet in breadth. As the grass grows, eventually they are erased with a lawn mower.

This was Werth’s first try at a sculpture, done without making a pattern or even much calculating, he said.

“I just took a tape measure, and I tried to figure out center, and everything was just roughed in. I just winged it,” he said. “I told the wife, once I start, if I mess up, there’s no going back. So that’s all I did was just wing it and hope for the best.”

There are still remnants of the cedar tree bark in a couple of spots, as well as a little nick from the chainsaw going too deep.

“There’s a gauge in here, but I don’t know how to fill it,” he said. “But I didn’t want to make it any smaller.”

Graduation for TMP-Marian’s 42 seniors is July 12, and the logo will be ready by then. After that, there’s another stump back behind the school building in the garden area. Werth plans to take the saw to that one and make a cross.

“Now I’m debating whether to make it a traditional cross or something fancy. Between now and next week I’ll figure out what to do,” he said. “But that’s the only thing I plan on doing is just this and that cross. Other than that, do I plan on doing any more? No. I don’t know.”

TMP-Marian maintenance worker Steve Werth on Saturday had a few more coats to go to finish the Catholic school's 3D logo he carved from a cedar tree stump on the campus.