It looks like retirement will have to wait for Shelton’s beloved Paul Bunyan statue.
The Mason County Sheriff’s Office recovered the figure’s missing ax on Tuesday night in the Lake Cushman area, according to the statue’s owner, Lloyd Prouty.
He said he was relieved that the ax was returned.
“Paul Bunyan, over here, is an icon of Shelton, and it makes my heart warm to see the output of assistance people have given... to get the ax back,” Prouty said.
The ax fell from the statue along Highway 101 while en route to an event over the weekend. It didn’t cause any injuries or crashes, but the family was having trouble getting the ax back from a woman who found it, Prouty said. They ended up filing an incident report about the situation.
Prouty’s daughter Kathleen Otto said the ax won’t be able to go back into Paul’s hands for a little while.
“It’s got a crack in the handle — I’m sure that’s from when it fell from the trailer,” Otto said. “But it’s nothing that can’t be repaired.”
The 21-foot fiberglass statue stood in front of a Shelton gas station for many years, and then it was moved to Shelton High School. About 20 years, Prouty led a restoration effort so that Paul could be taken to parades, festivals and events around the region. A few years ago, a Shelton resident donated $11,000 so that Prouty could commission a Babe the Blue Ox statue to accompany Paul to various events.