Iconic cross removed for refurbishing

November 2, 2012

A worker carefully places the cross on a trailer for transport

It’s a beacon in the night; a light that reflects over the calm, blue water near the entrance of Mercy Hospital. 

For years the illuminated cross shined brightly as one of the highest points in Fort Scott. The 15 foot Christian symbol graced the roof top of Mercy Hospital at the Burke Street location. Upon the former five-story building, the cross could be seen for miles as a symbol of warm acceptance to those seeking care. When the new hospital opened in 2002, the cross was removed from the roof and strategically placed just west of the pond near the entrance as a visual representation for combining the old and new.

In the early 1990’s, Dr. John Benage donated the cross to the Sisters of Mercy in Fort Scott.

But time has aged the cross and its lights have become less radiant. The lighting system is antiquated and the finish has worn significantly over the last few years.

“The lighting will be upgraded to LED technology that will operate on a fraction of the electricity and will save on repair costs,” explained Dale Cation, Mercy director of engineering and maintenance. “The diodes that will provide the light will last for an estimated 15-20 years.”

The cross will be transported to Springfield for the overhaul. The job will likely take several weeks.

“We expect many of our patients and visitors will notice the absence of the cross,” said Tina Rockhold, Mercy marketing and communications manager. “We want to inform our patrons and community members that the ‘beacon in the night’ will soon return to shine even brighter as a symbol of hope to all who enter here.”

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