WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A Winston-Salem blacksmith is celebrating his efforts after winning the History Channel’s Armed Forces “Forged in Fire” tournament and $10,000.
What You Need To Know
Fermin Lopez plans on using the $10,000 to expand his shop and take his wife to Hawaii
He started to forge as a way to cope with his PTSD
This wasn’t his first time on the “Forged in Fire” TV show
Fermin Lopez loves to forge, it’s a part of his own therapy used to soothe his soul and improve his mood. Lopez joined the U.S. Army in 1987, serving as a helicopter medic, and achieving the rank of sergeant before he was injured in Iraq.
“I started shortly after I came back from Iraq. I had PTSD and needed to get my mind off of things so I started forging,” Lopez said.
The veteran never thought his hobby to cope with PTSD would take him so far. He was invited to compete against three armed forces members on the History Channel’s Armed Forces “Forged in Fire” tournament to display their skills as a blacksmith.
Lopez had to forge an 1840 Ames cavalry officer sword in the final competition that passed three tests of the show’s three judges and winning him the championship.
This wasn’t his first time; in 2019, Lopez was on “Forged in Fire” for a different competition with top bladesmiths from each branch of the U.S. military. He was a finalist at the time.
“It’s just something that when I create a knife, it’s something that’s coming from the heart, and it can be passed down from generations and generations. A knife will be around forever, pretty much,” he said.
Now, Lopez, continues to make custom knives for others, bought by people from all over the world. Since being on TV, he’s received orders from South Africa, Puerto Rico, Australia and Russia.
Using the $10,000 he won from the championship, Lopez hopes to expand his forge shop so he can continue to do what he loves after he retires. He also said he plans on taking his wife on a trip to Hawaii.
Lopez also said he is prepared to return back to “Forged in Fire” if the opportunity arises.