NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Monday is Veterans Day. The country will honor all the brave men and women who fought for us.

But in Queens, one veteran does that every day, with help from his art, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.

“All I have is a plan, no instructions, no list of materials, no sense of direction,” Raymond Daughtry Jr. said.

It’s called “scratch model building” and 87-year-old Daughtry created not just one work of art using this method, but nearly 100.

“As a kid, I used to build model airplanes with rubber bands, line them up and let them fly and I never stopped the curiosity of building things,” Daughtry said.

Raymond Daughtry’s scratch-made model of the U.S.S. Arizona. (credit: CBS2)

The Queens man served in the Marine Corps from 1950 to 1954. Now, as the veteran grows older, he is finding building model warships therapeutic.

“My forte is Second World War, American and Allied naval vessels,” Daughtry said. “What I do is, I look at a ship, I see it, and I get inspired.”

Most recently, he built a replica of the U.S.S. Arizona.

“Took a year and half to build. That’s love,” Daughtry said.

He recently put it up for auction for $15,000 to benefit JASA, one of the city’s largest nonprofits. It provides programming for aging New Yorkers. Daughtry volunteers there and often displays his work at its shows, motivating other veterans to get into the hobby.

“If it helps him and they get inspired that they want to build, that’s good. That’s something that came because of my efforts,” Daughtry said.

“Anytime I see one of his boats, it reminds me of how proud I am that I served my country,” Army veteran William McKnight said.

Aisha Parillon, JASA’s director of senior centers, said this kind of art helps veterans and other members, especially those who are aging and facing mental struggles.

“It’s normal for people to fear getting older, fear of the unknown, but this gives me hope that as we all age, that we can continue to be engaged in our communities and maintain vibrant lives,” Parillon said.

Daughtry sure has and doesn’t plan on stopping.

Daughtry also just finished a model of an Italian warship. He is already brainstorming for his next piece of art.


Leave a Reply