NORMAN, Okla. — Ancient warriors could take a piece of flint, fracture it with something hard, and fashion sharp points to place on wooden shafts.
“I try to keep these arrows as authentic as I could,” says flint knapper Clint DeWitt.
He spends several hours a day practicing this lost art of arrow making.
“It’s a long process,” he admits.
You could call it a hobby.
Clint sends for flint through the mail.
He buys deer sinew, pine pitch, and ground-up charcoal.
The feathers for fletching are donated by wild turkeys.
“Resident turkeys,” he says definitely, “And I could collect the feathers I needed.”
The finished product would actually shoot with compound or wood bow, but that’s not why DeWitt makes them.
He recalls thinking, “What am I going to do with these?”
As soon as he gets a quiver full, and marks them with the proper campaign ribbons, he takes them down the road from his home in Norman to the Veterans Corner, a non-profit organization with a long history of helping out military members and their dependents with VA benefits.
“Where they sent us, we went,” volunteer Jerry Ferguson tells DeWitt.
Clint shows up once a month, maybe more, to wander around in his motorized cart, identifying veterans, and then giving them an arrow complete with appropriate markings to reflect their military branch and campaign.
It’s not much but the gesture never fails to pierce hard armor and to penetrate the heart.
Clint himself served part of the Vietnam era as a radio operator in the Navy.
He never fired a shot in anger or had any fired at him, but he got the point of his own duty, and it pricks his conscience still.
“All gave some,” he says, echoing an old saying, “But some gave all.”
A straight arrow will always find its mark if the maker performs his task the right way.
Heart to heart is where he always aims.
DeWitt has been making and giving away arrows for the past six years.
For more information on the Veterans Corner, click here.
‘Is This a Great State or What?’ is sponsored by WEOKIE.