Cross project coming together at I-55

Published 9:55 am Friday, June 16, 2017

Cross project coming together at I-55

Regulars coming together at the construction site of The Cross on the southeast quadrant of I-55 and Hwy. 6 intersection include Carol Anne Lightsey (left), Ann McDowell and Mark Haley. Workers with Mike Rozier Construction have placed the locally built Crown of Thorns (hanging from the crane) onto brackets placed at the Cross’ intersection. Once skeletal parts are put in place, the structure will be lifted and placed followed by metal siding on previously mounted brackets. Photo by Rupert Howell

By Rupert Howell
It’s not exactly like they have never done it before, but they haven’t.
Mike Rozier’s construction company has put up a few of the 120’ metal crosses such as the one going up on House-Carlson Drive on the southeast quadrant of the I-55 intersection with 6/278. But they have never put one up that included a Crown of Thorns, a unique addition to the Batesville Cross like no other that has been erected.
That symbolic Crown of Thorns, put together by local volunteer craftsmen and Northwest CC volunteer metal working students, met the Cross Tuesday afternoon which was almost in place until someone figured it was not going together correctly.
After local enthusiast Gary Blair explained by stretching out his arms as a Cross and acting as he had a wreath about his body, Rozier got the picture and Wednesday morning the Crown was being attached. It was at Blair’s shop where volunteers have worked diligently to make the Crown happen.
The Cross’ skeleton is lying horizontally on braces waiting for the Crown, other pieces of the base and the left arm to be attached. Once raised into position, the metal siding will be attached by the local metal supplier ACI.
The Cross’ construction has drawn local “rubber neckers” who make the drive by to check on progress as well as regulars who have brought their lawn chairs and sit  and watch as workmen put together the hot steel structure under the June Mississippi sun.
Mark Haley helped put together the Crown of Thorns and is a regular—so much so that he erected a canopy for himself and other regulars to watch from under its shade. It is a popular spot.
Kirk Rowsey has been involved from the beginning and dropped off an ice chest with water for whoever is occupying the tent’s shade on the hill overlooking the site.
In that shade is Carol Anne Lightsey whose idea to have a Cross in Batesville has slowly come to fruition while she has been the driving force for raising approximately $200,000 and taking care of details in putting the project together.
Overseer of the project is Rev. Jim Potter, referred to by Lightsey as “The Cross Man.”
Under his watchful eyes the Cross goes together, but this is his first Crown of Thorns, too. Potter’s experience includes not only details of constructing and erecting the Cross and all nuances that come before, during and after. He brought his own lawn chair while his wife sat Wednesday in the cool of air conditioned diesel flatbed parked next to the shade tent.
All is well at the Cross site. You might want to drive by and see for yourself.

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