Abraham Lincoln statue by Korean War veteran on display for Presidents Day

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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - In honor of Presidents Day Monday, 16 News Now introduced viewers to a local man who is proud to show off his favorite president.

Twenty-five years ago, a Korean War veteran carved Abraham Lincoln out of wood, and recently, it was on display at Healthwin in St. Joseph County.

Inside Healthwin, it was clear to see who Jack Ruffner's favorite president is.

"I believed in what he thought and what he did," said Ruffner, who carved the statue. "He believed in no slavery. He didn't think it was humane to do that, and we had slaves before he got into office and he ended it."

Twenty-five years ago, Ruffner spent 10 days and about 65 hours to get Honest Abe just right.

"My wife didn't like all the chips, but I did it anyway," Ruffner said with a laugh.

Now 88, Ruffner has always loved carving wood, but his Lincoln holds a special place in his heart.

"I tried to get the sadness in his eyes," he said. "He was really feeling bad about what was happening in the war. Fathers and sons and the people of the U.S., and he wanted to bring them together."

The statue brings the Ruffner family together.

"My dad means the world to me," son Dan Ruffner said. "I have three siblings, and we all fight over who's going to get Lincoln."

Following his time in the Navy, Jack Ruffner was a junior high school teacher and principal for most of his career.