‘Big Cross’ rises again

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Volunteers replace vandalized cross at Camps Mt. Crags and Gilmore.

Mt. Crags summer camp staff haul the new cross to the top of the mountain.

The “Big Cross” at The Salvation Army’s Camps Mt. Crags and Gilmore in Southern California sat atop a peak in the Santa Monica Mountains for almost 20 years before vandals destroyed it in late July, cutting it down with a wire saw during the night.

Summer camp staff immediately went to work to replace the iconic cross, and on Aug. 2 more than 10 staff members hiked to the top of the mountain to install a new 13-foot white cross, assembled by Camp Operations Director Dave Hansen in two days. He said the new cross should last for quite some time.

“We felt it was wrong for someone to cut it down,” said Camp Director Mark Logan. “It belongs there. That’s why we decided to put it up at the earliest opportunity.”

Before going up to install the cross, the staff gathered to pray for a safe trip. Logan also read a Bible passage on the importance of the cross to Christians.

The cross is installed replacing the one damaged by vandals. Photos by Kelly Pacillas

Hikers can usually reach the top of the mountain where the cross is located in 30 minutes. This hike, though, required more than three hours in 90-degree plus weather before staff reached the top with the 200-pound cross.

During their climb, the hikers ran out of water, remaining without for almost 30 minutes before volunteers got to them.

Logan said that although a police report was filed, finding the vandals would prove difficult.

 From “Volunteers replace vandalized cross at Salvation Army camp,” by Martha Maciel, Ventura County Star, Aug. 2, 2011

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