This week in history

Those clusters of crosses drivers pass daily across West Virginia and in dozens of other states? They’re the enduring work of the Rev. Bernard Coffindaffer, who died of a heart attack at his Nicholas County home on Oct. 8, 1993.
In 1984, Coffindaffer began erecting trios of crosses – one painted gold framed by two blue ones, each made from California Douglas fir. By the time of his death, he’d spent some $3 million to have crews place nearly 2,000 of the clusters across the United States and in Zambia and the Philippines.
The native West Virginian had found success as a businessman in the coal-washing industry before turning to evangelism in his 40s. After open-heart surgery in 1982, he reported a spirit appeared to him and told him to begin the cross project.
“The crosses are to remind people to remember that Jesus was crucified on a cross at Calvary for our sins,” he said in a 1991 interview. A Mississippi woman has formed a nonprofit to continue the work. Her organization, Crosses Across America, also has restored some aging Coffindaffer crosses.

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