AIKEN, TEXAS (KTRE) - With each cut, each measurement, each stroke of a brush, Steve Thomas is always thinking the reason for making wooden prayer crosses. "It's a strong feeling that I have about making these that I know they are going into Iraq and Afghanistan," explained the Shelby County resident.
The idea came to Thomas after a funeral. A soldier's funeral. "The only thing you could hear was the American flag blowing in the wind, flapping. And then the hearse slowly went by," recalled Thomas. "When it did you could see the flag draped coffin and that's when it really hit home to me."
From there Thomas prayed for an answer. "I prayed that there would be something I could do that by using the skills I have that I could do something that is simple." He was led to make the crosses from salvaged wood. He never realized how meaningful his work would become. First United Methodist Church of Center got involved. Each Sunday the crosses are dedicated. Prayers go out to each individual solider. It's documented with a prayer slip left in the hollow of the cross. "It's just been such an inspiration to everybody," shared Ann Harmon, the church's prayer coordinator.
As news of the crosses spread, it's become necessary for Thomas' wife Lisa to keep track of all the requests in a spiral notebook. Her most rewarding job is to read the thank you notes. "I am certain Steve (soldier) will cherish the gift and receive peace and comfort knowing you are lifting him up in prayer for God's grace and protection," read Lisa from one note.
The prayer crosses are a leap of faith of the truest kind. "I wanted to do something and this is out of pure kindness what I'm doing," said Thomas. "There's no monetary reward. It's just my labor and my time and my love for my country and service men to do something for them and their families."