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Iconic Three Crosses Receive New Life: BC Alumnus Uses Carpentry Skills to Give Back

Iconic Three Crosses Receive New Life: BC Alumnus Uses Carpentry Skills to Give BackAs many members of the Bishop Carroll community are already aware, the school’s iconic three crosses—which stood outside the school’s entrance—were recently removed from campus due to safety concerns.

In a recent statement, CEO Lynn Weber explained that BC maintenance staff discovered that the wooden crosses were rotting and had become a potential hazard for students, staff, faculty and any visitors to the property. However, this is hardly the end of the story.

 Symbols of Faith Receive a New Life

The three crosses, which were installed during the school’s original construction in 1962, are important symbols of Bishop Carroll’s foundation of faith and enduring hope. While the three crosses will be replaced in the future, the older fixtures will also receive a new life.

After removing the crosses, Admissions Director Jon Nagy was struck with inspiration. He contacted fellow 2001 alumnus, woodworker Josh Link to help.

“The project is in its infancy,” explains Josh Link. “Jon Nagy and I went to school together at Bishop Carroll. We’ve known each other since we were freshmen in high school. He called me up and knew that I did woodworking. I’ve done some different projects for Bishop Carroll in the past. I have a small wood shop to do one-off designs and specialty work for people.”

“Jon said that they took the crosses down in front of the school that were put up initially when the school was built,” Link continues. “Jon asked if I could maybe see if I could get any salvageable wood out of them and mill it up on my portable saw mill. He wanted to see if we could get anything they could use for small gift ideas or whatever for Bishop Carroll, for promotional items, awards or things like that. That’s how it all got started.”

When initially working on the project, Link says he didn’t even know what kind of wood was there because the crosses were in such bad shape. “I milled some of it up, realized it was cedar and … there was a lot of viable wood there. We’re going to continue to mill it and design a plaque. I’m not sure exactly what it’s going to look like yet. Jon gave me a rough sketch and we’re starting to work on that.”

Link’s initial designs promise that the final products will be fitting tributes to the three crosses.

Giving Back

Regardless of the outcome of this creative project, any Bishop Carroll alumnus familiar with Link’s work can rest assured that the iconic fixtures that graced the entrance to the school for so long are in good hands.

After receiving his degree in industrial design, Link has lived in Altoona, working at the local fire department for 12 years and developing his woodworking business, J.D. Link Designs, as a side project.

“Jon knew I did this sort of work and thought I might be able to help him out with the equipment I have, that the business I run on the side might be something we could use to get something out of these crosses, rather than just having them thrown on the back of the dump pile…” Link reiterates.

Making a Difference with Creativity

For Link, his part-time woodworking gig, which he started in college and formally established as a business in 2011, is an excellent way to give back to the school. J.D. Link Designs specializes in creating unique custom wood carvings, from carved signs to crosses and headboards, along with custom toy boxes, easels and more.

“I make a lot of personalized gifts, crosses — all wood work — but I have a portable saw mill, so we do custom saw milling and different things involving that. We are considered an urban saw mill. We take trees from people’s backyards and make usable lumber for them from that and then we take the wood and I can use it in different projects I do. I can do anything from furniture all the way down to small plaques or clocks or whatever,” Link says.

Thanks to Link, Bishop Carroll’s three crosses will continue to serve as a symbol of enduring faith. You can check out Link’s designs at jdlinkdesigns.com. Keep an eye on BC’s website for updates!

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