FORT PIERCE FOLKS
fundraiser his friend and work partner, Lenny Schelin, organized.
While Ard does the intricate carving, Schelin does the
final sanding and varnishing on the pieces.
The most amazing aspect of Ard’s work is that he does it all
with limited vision. Years ago, he suffered a detached retina
and lost sight in that eye. Then, the same thing happened to
his good eye. Ard believes his eyes were damaged when a
child shined a laser in both eyes. That, or any of the many
accidents he was in during about 10 years of racing motorcycles,
might have caused his eye problem.
“I was blind for a while,” Ard says, “until my vision came
back slowly in one eye. I can still read and still drive. It is
kind of a miracle.”
A fervent Christian, Ard adds that he is “thankful to God
that he let me see.”
This massive black grouper, carved from a piece of laminated mahogany,
was Ard’s first fish carving. Ard uses different types of wood for fins and
other body parts, as each wood has its own color.
While woodworking and fishing take up much of his retirement,
Ard has been an active member at Common Ground
Vineyard in downtown Fort Pierce and he volunteers at a
Bible study class at St. Lucie County Jail. A 21-year member
of the Christian Motorcycle Association, Ard also has helped
a project that smuggles Bibles into countries where they are
prohibited and has traveled with a ministry to Haiti.
But it’s the memories of his youth that keep bringing him
back to the wood.
Years ago, before the new South Bridge was constructed,
there were lights on the turnstile where the old bridge would
open to let boats through. It was there that moonfish would
gather in groups under those lights, Ard says, adding that
perhaps his recently completed moonfish mobile might rekindle
memories other fishermen from that era might have.
Jack, a 7 1/2-foot swordfish, once hung above the counter at Marine Liquidators.
Following a mishap, it is attached to a coral base.The swordfish is
named for Capt. Jack Campola of the Miss Broadbill.