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Duluth artist gives back to fire department which rescued him after drinking and driving

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DULUTH, MN — It’s a story of second chances, thanks, and a gift that has been six and a half years in the making.

A Duluth artist is giving back to firefighters who saved his life after a drunk driving crash that nearly ended it.

Eric Waller was behind the wheel after drinking with his friend when the crash happened on June 17th, 2012, and and claims to have no memory of that fateful day.

After lifesaving efforts by local firefighters, Waller has lived to tell the tale, and share his message of the life-changing event.

“It can happen to anybody, you know?  They might just not realize what shape they’re in, and they end up wrapped around a telephone pole,” said Waller.

On Thursday, Waller seized the opportunity to give back to those firefighters who saved his life.

“It’s extremely humbling that he took time and personal expense to create such a wonderful piece of art for us to have, and he just did that to thank us, and that’s extremely generous and very appreciative that he did that for us,” said Duluth Fire Department Captain Mike Consie.

It took him roughly 6 years to sculpt the plaque, during which time, Waller says his life has changed dramatically.

“Now that I’m a father, it really expanded it (life) to an incredible level – It finally gave me a reason to live. That’s something I’ve been looking for for 49 years,” said Waller.

As a symbol of second chances, Duluth Fire Station #10 will proudly hang this piece of artwork made by Waller, as a testament to how life can change for the better.

Waller says he will continue to sculpt historical pieces from around the community, and plans to live his life to the fullest every day.

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Jenna Lake

Meteorologist

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