Creating for a cause

The .50 Caliber Muzz Loader that Tommy Thompson will be gifting to the highest donator for the Military Warriors Support Foundation.

The .50 Caliber Muzz Loader that Tommy Thompson will be gifting to the highest donator for the Military Warriors Support Foundation.

GRINNELL – The Iowa Valley Grinnell Gunsmith Technology program is more than creating firearms. It is an art. It’s a love for creating something unique, new or even restoring a firearm.

First year Gunsmith Technology student Tommy Thompson is using his skill and abilities in the class to give back to a cause he is very passionate about and that is giving back to Veterans. During Thompsons first semester at IVG he created a .50 Caliber Muzz Loader. The beautiful artwork of the firearm included hand carving, engraving and is hand fitted. But Thompson did not create the gun for his own enjoyment. He is using it to collect donations for the Veteran community.

Being a twenty year plus Navy Chief, Thompson has seen firsthand how Veterans cope with the trials and tribulations both on active duty and after transitioning to civilian life. “I feel that trying to ease some of the hardships a Veteran or their families may encounter is needed more than ever,” commented Thompson. “After discussing with my wife, who is also a twenty year plus Navy Chief, I decided that donating this gun to a cause that helps Veterans was the right answer.”

Thompson’s inspiration for the gun was The Chief! “The Chief is a rank and position in the US Navy unique to all other branches of military. The Chief Petty Officer is the Chief of a rating group. A technical expert in his or her field. He or she is the senior enlisted person, the top enlisted person in his or her field and, as such, is responsible for the efficient functioning of all persons working under his supervision. He is the functionary that sees that the immediate task at hand gets done. He or she is also the technical advisor to the commanding officer when critical decisions need to be made,” explained Thompson. “A Chief is unique in that he or she must be selected by other Chiefs, tested/trained and finally accepted by them. This process is what makes it “unique.” The process only happens once a year and takes two months. A Sailor works their entire carrier to get to this milestone. Once you are a Chief, you are always a Chief and you are a part of the greatest fraternity in the world. The “Chief” takes care of what needs to be done.”

A Facebook post was created on Thompson’s page on Veterans Day. It is set up so that when someone donates Facebook sends a message to Thompson and the person who donates sends him a message with a screen shot of the amount they donated. Whoever has the highest donation will receive the gun as a gift.

The auction will run until Friday, Nov. 18 at 3 pm. The current highest donation is $1,893 and the donations have already reached $3,700 for the Military Warriors Support Foundation. For those interested in donating or seeing more photos of The Chief, the firearm that Thompson created, they can visit