A group of local woodcarvers show the “Clinging Crosses” they created and donated to the residents of Gundersen Harmony Care Center on Good Friday. They are Ruth Vagland, LuAnn Peterson, Joanne Gillespie, Anna Maroushek, Slim Maroushek, Carol Yetter and Gene Yetter. Not shown are carvers Janice Elton, Dave Hoppe and Leo Nagle.  SUBMITTED PHOTO
A group of local woodcarvers show the “Clinging Crosses” they created and donated to the residents of Gundersen Harmony Care Center on Good Friday. They are Ruth Vagland, LuAnn Peterson, Joanne Gillespie, Anna Maroushek, Slim Maroushek, Carol Yetter and Gene Yetter. Not shown are carvers Janice Elton, Dave Hoppe and Leo Nagle. SUBMITTED PHOTO
On Good Friday, Slim Maroushek and several fellow woodcarvers presented, "Clinging Crosses," to the residents of Gundersen Harmony Care Center. Creating the small, wooden crosses were LuAnn Peterson, Gene and Carol Yetter, Ruth Vagland, Joanne Gillespie and Slim and Anna Maroushek.

Slim, of Slim's Woodshed of Harmony, explained the clinging cross project began as a means for friends to get together in the camaraderie of fellow woodcarvers.

He said this group met each Wednesday afternoon, eight weeks preceding Lent, to share their craft, which included both beginning and experienced woodcarvers from southeastern Minnesota and the Decorah area.

Slim, who originally started making the crosses 25 years ago for a church in Decorah, wanted to carry this idea forward and involve a "non-denominational" group from the community to reach out to others, with the intent to "give something back."

Slim began cutting out the crosses a year ago in either the form of a dove or a cross. Using a Foredom tool, he would round the corners of the cross. Then, in assembly line fashion, the carvers would hand sand the crosses and wood burn the sign of the cross, fish, dove, and the initials CC (for Clinging Crosses) on the back of the crosses.

To complete them, the loving volunteer hands would rub in the beeswax, a non-toxic finish which brings out the color of the wood.

Slim demonstrated how to hold the cross, which is carved to fit in your hand and clenched in a way that is comfortable in your hand.

A printed prayer, entitled, "Crosses for Christians," written by Billy Graham, was also given to the residents with the cross. Woodcarvers not able to attend the program, but who also worked on the small crosses, were Janice Elton, Dave Hoppe and Leo Nagle.

The residents who received the small gifts were grateful to Slim and the other carvers for their labor of love.