Mexico Beach residents have discovered a mermaid, thanks to an artist of wood.

The mermaid stands majestically near the eastern end of 15th Street in Mexico Beach, almost to Overstreet.

There, on land that was once a church, amid broken trees and stumps, the mermaid has taken shape under the hands of Chad Gainey.

Crafted from what was left of a tree, the mermaid is Gainey’s latest creation.

And he fashioned quite a legacy post-Hurricane Michael.

He crafted a bald eagle from a tree stump in Panama City and has done about a dozen around the area, including a bear and a marlin.

This is Gainey’s art, his passion, as detailed on his website, which features dozens of sculptures by Gainey, also known as the Chainsaw Carver, Husqvarna Chainsaw Carver, Chainsaw Artist and several others.

“(The mermaid) is a really cool thing,” said Mexico Beach resident Traci Gaddis, who lives down the road apiece.

“He just takes out his chainsaw and goes to work. Several people around here have hired him.”

She asked Gainey about the lack of his signature on his creation and the artist pointed to his initials and the year at the base.

The sculpture is emblazoned with “Mexico Beach” and “Strong.”

Gainey sees the artwork as just his way to improve the local aesthetic after devastation. --- Tim Croft