Hampton VA Medical Center
New Cross for the Chapel
On a windy day in early December, several Hampton VA Medical Center (VAMC) Facilities Management Service staff members were doing scheduled rounds on the grounds when they noticed a piece of the campus chapel cross laying at the foot of the structure.
After further examination of the Celtic cross remaining on the roof, they discovered that pieces were loose and about to fall. A decision was made to immediately remove the safety hazard and repair it, but when the employees got it back to the shop, they determined the cross could not possibly be restored and decided a new one must be built. The original cross had been constructed of cedar and was severely rotted and workers agreed there was no way to save the piece, which dated back to 1978.
“It was a Hampton VAMC team effort,” said Chuck Rasmussen, FMS Maintenance supervisor. “Andrew Ankney, one of our carpenters, expressed a desire to fabricate the new cross and did exactly that. Then Thomas Addaquay, a painter, applied many finishing coats of urethane varnish to complete it.”
Rasmussen said that raw materials of African mahogany were used to construct the new cross, using the old cross as a template. He praised Ankney’s top-notch carpentry work and dedication.
“Many hours of labor and love went into this venture,” said Ankney, who explained that he dedicated his work in memory of his granddaughter. However, Ankney continued that his commitment to the Nations Veterans ~ to those who have fought for the country and gave people the ability to worship freely in the beautiful chapel ~ was paramount to his work on the project.
On Feb. 17, with a brilliant blue sky and warming spring temperatures, the new Celtic cross was installed on the roof of the chapel, building 48, on the Hampton VAMC campus. Ankney was part of the installation team, securing his cross in place at the peak of the rooftops.
“Our intentions now are to build a display case for the old cross and place it in the chapel,” Rasmussen said.