Kernan Helps Preserve Gun
Wetzel County resident Carl Kernan has already given to his country in the form of the ultimate service – as a member of the United States military. However, Kernan has recently donated more of himself, in the form of preserving an important piece of wartime history – a century old Gatling gun.
Area residents can see the evidence of this recent service when driving past New Martinsville’s American Legion. The legion’s Gatling gun sets in front of the building as a proud token and dedication to all who have given, and those who were willing to give, the ultimate sacrifice.
The special type of gun was actually invited by Richard J. Gatling during the American Civil War. The gun consists of multiple barrels revolving around a central axis and is capable of being fired at a rapid rate.
According to Kernan, the New Martinsville American Legion had discussed getting the Gatling gun fixed, as its wheels were very much deteriorated. Kernan said during a trip to the Amish country with his family, he decided to inquire about a way of getting the precious memento restored.
After some inquiry, Kernan was directed to a buggy shop where a gentleman was known to rebuild old Amish buggies. The restoration took approximately two months.
The venture, along with payment for such, was of Kernan’s own accord. He did not think twice. Like many from his generation, Kernan stresses the importance of preserving the past and not being wasteful. “If it is old, I like to keep it,” he noted.
Likewise, Kernan knows the importance of taking care of what one has, as he also applied five coats of linseed oil to the restored wheels. Kernan cites learning this trick from his Marine Corps day when cleaning gun stocks.
Kernan, a Vietnam veteran, served his country from 1964-1967, followed by 13 years in the reserves. He also worked at Ormet, Clements Oil Company, has worked as a truck driver, and has served as deputy sheriff.
Despite years of hard work and service to his fellow man, Kernan does not back away from hard work or the opportunity to help another. His enthusiasm to restore the Gatling gun is evidence of his character – a quality that his example may help preserve in society, as the gun is now preserved in history.