Shane McDaniel used to be known around town for his impressive selection of beer.
Now he’s that guy with the bulging biceps and big ax in this week’s People magazine.
Nicole Kidman is on the cover and he’s on page 36.
What’s up with that?
Unlike Kidman, his People pizzazz is giving away firewood.
Social media ignited his fame as a hotshot do-gooder. The November Facebook post of him with 21-year-old twin sons, Henry and Harrison, in muscle shirts in front of their fortress of firewood got thousands of views and comments about their generosity — and physiques.
The three single guys have a global following.
McDaniel, 47, owner of Norm’s Market-Keg & Bottleshop in Lake Stevens, was featured in a Nov. 14 story in The Daily Herald about free firewood for those in need. It told how he and the twins spent eight months slinging axes, splitting 40 cords of wood, enough to fill about 80 pickup trucks.
Well, we can say we knew him when.
The story of the McDaniel men in People also was in The Washington Post and numerous papers worldwide in languages he can’t read, such as one in Hindi from India.
Not only that, he was recruited to be on a bag of potato chips for the “Smile with Lay’s” campaign. That’s how you really know you’ve made it, for more than your muscles.
“I don’t even eat potato chips,” he said.
For real, this guy has no body fat whatsoever.
“It was never meant to be this big,” McDaniel said. “It is amazing how it has spread. People see a ball rolling that’s doing some good and they continue to roll it. It has consumed me.”
He has branched out from wood to giving away electric mobility scooters to people in need. He has one refurbished scooter ready and three in the works, with plans to add more and make it an ongoing mission.
“Giving people firewood pales in comparison,” he said.
McDaniel also used his social media platform to post about being unpopular and picked on when he was a skinny kid with Coke-bottle glasses and braces.
“Little Shane didn’t have too many friends. Notice I never had to cut out the ‘wallet size’ … no one ever wanted one,” he wrote on Facebook, with school pictures of him then.
Two years before all this recent attention, he made The Herald when three teens in clown masks attempted to rob his store using baseball bats. McDaniel chased them down.
The market with kegs in front and hundreds of varieties of beer on the wall is now a place where volunteers armed with power tools gather for weekend work parties to split logs.
“I just bought a new chain saw. A Stihl 661 Magnum Pro. A mammoth thing,” McDaniel said.
Wood also is stacked at his nearby lakefront home, the bachelor pad where he and the twins live.
The house has a bike jump on the dock, three pool tables, two 70-inch TVs, a gym and a boxing ring, five Xboxes, a goldendoodle and a 250-pound English mastiff.
McDaniel grew up in the home that he took over last year after his mom, Arlene, moved into an apartment. He used to chop wood with his dad, Gary, a PUD retiree who died of cancer in 2013. On a small scale, his dad would take extras to townspeople in need after cutting enough for the home’s wood stove and fireplace.
McDaniel, who has six kids, wanted to share that experience with his two oldest boys. They went big, cutting about 40 cords, valued around $10,000.
“It is shocking to see what kind of living situations people have and how this affects them,” said his son Harrison. “We want this to be bigger someday. It is important to get more people taken care of.”
Brother Henry added: “It feels good to get out there and give back in the heart of it, where people really need it.”
Most of the original wood has been given away. They’re stocking up again.
“People just bring it in and dump it,” McDaniel said. “Some goes straight out for delivery.”
He’ll fetch downed trees in many forms.
“Twice I’ve gone to pick up a truckload of Duraflame logs,” he said.
Requests outnumber supply.
Anne Anderson, director of the Lake Stevens Community Food Bank, is a volunteer who helps McDaniel screen applicants.
She said they try to give to the neediest.
“The ones that tug the hardest, elderly people with no family who can’t go gather wood or split wood. A parent taking care of a disabled child,” Anderson said. “There was a lady who lived quite a ways out who was living in a bus and she needed a fire to boil water.”
She hopes it inspires people to start firewood giveaways in their communities.
“There are programs to help people pay their electric bills, but what happens if they don’t have electric heat?” she said.
Much of the work now is preparing for next year.
“We need people with lots of muscles and big trucks and chain saws,” Anderson said.
Got firewood or muscles?
Visit Norm’s Market-Keg & Bottleshop at 10027 Lundeen Parkway in Lake Stevens or call 425-334-4646.