RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - In a wood shop tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, Tom Gober is free.
"When I get stressed out, I come in here, fire up the saw and take a rough board and turn it into a cross," he says while taking a break from his work: Crosses, all types, made from exotic woods, many of them very rare.
By day, Gober is a forensic accountant. Uncovering fraud and greed is his job, so when he's not on the clock, making crosses is his outlet.
Gober gives them to anyone who needs them. His father was a Methodist Minister, and Gober looked to him for inspiration. So far, he's given 1,200 crosses to family, friends and complete strangers over the past fourteen years.
One of the most recent recipients was Sacred Heart Parish in South Richmond, which lost its processional cross when the wind knocked it over just days before Easter. "For the most important days of our year we had a beautiful cross that we couldn't have possibly have bought," says Reverend Bill Noe, the church's Parochial Vicar.
These crosses are designed to inspire and be a means of escape from daily stresses like they are for the man who makes them.
Attorney Jim Thorsen keeps one in his office. "The little solace I need from time to time to reflect on what I'm doing and how I'm doing it."
Gober never accepts money for his crosses. He only asks that those who receive one make a donation to their church or a charity if and when they can. He says, "I feel that I get more in making them than I believe they even get in receiving them, so I'm already being paid for it for making them."
Gober's crosses range from small enough to fit in your pocket to so large that they can stand out on a church altar. Many of his designs are actually three crosses in one. They are connected by magnets so that they can suit different occasions.
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