July 31, 2013 - At 3:01 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, some lucky individual is going to be the proud owner of a genuine silver bullet just like the ones the Lone Ranger uses as his calling card.
Oxford jeweler Mark A. Young used his considerable talent and skills to create a 1-ounce sterling silver bullet, which will serve as the prize for the Silver Bullet Good Deeds contest. Young replicated every last detail of a real .45-caliber bullet, right down to the lettering. Photos by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Folks who have earned silver certificates through the Silver Bullet Good Deeds contest that began July 2 are asked to bring them to downtown Oxford's Centennial Park between 12 noon and 3 p.m. Saturday.
One certificate will be drawn at random at 3 p.m. and the winner will receive a 1-ounce sterling silver bullet expertly-crafted by local jeweler Mark A. Young.
"I hope the person that wins it is going to enjoy the heck out of it," he said.
Creating a silver replica of a .45-caliber bullet required a mixture of architecture, artistry and mathematics, according to Young.
It all started with Young taking exact measurements of the original bullet, then hand-carving a wax model.
From there, computers and precision machining were used to create the finished product, which actually consists of four separate components.
Young estimated the project required approximately 30 man-hours. All of the labor and materials were donated by Young. "It was cool to do something different," he said.
Whoever wins the silver bullet will able to proudly display it in their home or office on a one-of-a-kind stand created by Young or wear it around their neck as a unique pendant.
In order to earn silver certificates for the contest, folks of all ages have been doing everything from volunteering with local nonprofit groups to helping their neighbors to committing random acts of kindness.
The contest was inspired by the Lone Ranger's dedication to helping others and making the world around him a better place.
Oxford resident Connie Miller, who came up with the idea and has coordinated the contest, said the response has been "very positive."
"A lot of people have been getting out there, doing new things and benefitting groups and individuals all over town," she said.
Miller estimated she's collected approximately 100 certificates so far. That's not including all the ones folks are expected to bring to the park Saturday.
Miller's impressed by the variety of things people have done in order to earn their silver certificates.
"Several neighborhood children ran a lemonade stand to raise money to buy food for (Oxford-Orion) FISH," she said. "A young lady has been helping her elderly neighbors take care of their animals.
"People have been loading strangers' groceries, opening doors for others, teaching kids to fish and volunteering to help at the Strawberry Festival, with Meals on Wheels and with the Free Meals program (at Oxford United Methodist Church)."
Whether or not this contest has any lasting impact on the community "remains to be seen," in Miller's view.
"What I'm hoping is people – now that they've gotten out there, seen what they can do and enjoyed it – will continue volunteering and helping others long after the drawing on Saturday," Miller said.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.