BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In a garage not far from the corner of Hertel Avenue and Delaware Avenue in Buffalo is a small forge. The metals inside reach scorching temperatures, enough to soften the metal, that is hammered it shape on a nearby anvil.
Working the small pieces of metal, fashioning them into garden tool are a pair of men.
“I started thinking how can I give back, or what could I possibly do to try and help my community heal,” asked Mark Stradley, a guidance counselor. He and Steven Johnson, a pastor, formed Raw Tools Buffalo.
It isn’t fair to call the metal they’re working with simply, metal.
“Disarm guns and transform them into garden tools,” explained Johnson.
Stradley and Johnson want their blacksmithing to be a path for healing for anyone who has been affected by gun violence.
“This is an avenue for individuals who have been impacted by gun violence in Western New York,” said Stradley.
That gun violence includes suicide.
“The police will take that firearm, process it, and when the case is kind of closed, they give that gun back to the family. And what would they want with that? They can have peace knowing that that firearm will never take another human life,” added Johnson.
The idea comes from the original Raw Tools in Colorado.
“He read in Isaiah chapter two, verse four that the vision that God has for the future is one where we don't need weapons anymore, where they'll beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks,” said Johnson.
These two men aren’t trying to change any laws.
“We want a world where there's more peace,” added Johnson.
They’re looking for more people who might like to get involved, and they’re looking for anyone who wants to donate a firearm that needs to be disarmed.
You can find @RAWToolsBuffalo on Instagram or send them an email: RawToolsBuffalo@gmail.com