MUNCY Frank Foust, a native to Muncy, has carved over 730 little birds since 1982. Only about four inches long and two inches high, these birds seem small but have a big purpose. Frank Foust and his wife, Millie, are filled with stories of the comfort the smooth figurines give.
It takes Foust about two hours to transform a block of wood into a sanded and varnished bird. His stock of wood ranges from cherry to eucalyptus, and no two birds turn out alike. This woodworking hobby began in the 80's when the Williamsport Community College held a carving class at Montour Preserve. Foust still has his first creation-a large duck.
Since then, he took several additional woodworking classes and now has a beautiful collection of detailed birds ranging from cardinals to humming birds. Unfortunately, due to health problems, he has retired from large carvings and focuses solely on his comfort birds.
Frank Foust stands beside his work bench.
At first, he did sell the comfort birds, but more often than not, gave them as gifts. Now, he sells them to raise money for missionary work at his church in Whitehall-$400 and counting.
His birds also collected $1,005 for Haiti relief. Foust regrets he can't continue to do missionary work (having been to places such as Nicaragua and, more recently, helping in Mississippi after Katrina, but his birds are a twofold ministry. They provide money and enjoyment all over the world.
These small birds have flown across America and even to Russia and Korea. They've comforted people suffering from blindness, depression and cancer. As Mr. Foust says, "It gives people comfort just to hold it."
Foust has plans for the future of his birds. Currently, they can be purchased at the Muncy Baptist Church on West Penn Street, the money once again going to missions. A website is in the works to be launched in the near future, shipping his birds across Pennsylvania and even into Delaware.