Steven Ward headshot
By Steven Ward
July 2023

Walter “Radar” Mullins spent a little over a year in Iraq manning a gun truck as a soldier with the Mississippi Army National Guard.

The assignment was stressful to say the least.

When he returned to Waynesboro in 2003, Mullins picked up an activity that he only “piddled with” before — woodworking.

“It was relaxing. And it allowed me to clear my mind,” Mullins, 56, said recently at the Waynesboro district office of Dixie Electric Power Association.

two men stand outside holding crafted wooden trucks.

Mullins was visiting with Dan Wooten, Dixie Electric’s Waynesboro district supervisor.

Wooten and Mullins became friendly after Wooten spotted a wooden bulldozer inside Chickasawhay Feed, Seed, and Lumber.

“I was there buying some cow feed,” Wooten said. “I saw that bulldozer, and I couldn’t believe it. Whoever made it was so talented. I asked the owner who made it, and I tracked him down.”

Wooten’s office is now adorned with several wood trucks he commissioned from Mullins, including a few electric cooperative staples — a bucket truck, digger truck, and a track machine.

When they first met, Mullins asked Wooten for a bucket truck photo. Mullins finished the truck two months later.

photo of man in workshop building wooden trucksMullins has a day job working as a mechanic and a painter, but when he’s not doing that, or spending time with his wife, Margaret, he can be found woodworking in the workshop behind his home.

“Some people have hobbies, and others just exist. I don’t want to just exist, I want to do something meaningful,” Mullins said.

Through trial and error for more than six months, Mullins taught himself how to create detailed trucks.

Some people have hobbies, and others just exist. I don’t want to just exist, I want to do something meaningful.

“At the time I was working for a trucking company. I looked at an 18-wheeler and thought, I can make one of those,” Mullins said.

two men standing in a wood shopHe uses just four tools — a drill, scroll saw, sander, and a pocketknife. He uses cedar, poplar, ash, and oak wood for his trucks.

Although Mullins has made trucks for buyers in West Virginia, Alaska, North Carolina, and Alabama, he doesn’t do it for the money or commercial purposes.

“In a way, other than God, when I’m doing this, (woodworking) I’m in my happy place. This is my relaxing, alone time. Some people fish. This is what I do,” Mullins said. 

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