Pandemic projects: Inland NW Trinity project volunteer idea takes flight: wooden crosses transported around the world
When Joe Kramarz read Scott Hendricks’ Wooden Cross Pandemic Project in The Spokesman-Review, he wondered if there might be a way for Hendricks to partner with the Inland Northwest Trinity Project.
Hendricks had started making and handing out crosses last year after a grand mal attack led to the discovery of a brain tumor and a diagnosis of astrocytoma – a slow-growing malignant cancer. The tumor caused the epilepsy, leaving him unable to work or drive.
He started making the crosses in his garden shed in Otis Orchards. Giving them gave him a purpose.
“I donated over 500 hundred crosses in less than a year,” he said.
Crosses vary in size from 6 to 24 inches – each different from one another. Some are covered with a natural finish stain, others are painted. All include a small red marble.
“It’s my hallmark,” said Hendricks. “It represents the blood of Christ. “
Kramarz, a longtime volunteer with the Inland Northwest Trinity Project, shared the article on Hendricks’ project with association founder Dick Carpenter, who encouraged him to explore the idea of using the crosses of Hendricks in the association’s projects.
Since 2005, the nonprofit (formerly Inland Northwest PET Project) has built and distributed manually operated three-wheel personal mobility carts in 103 countries around the world.
The carts, called Rainbow Freedom Carts for their multiple colors, are sent to amputees and victims of war and disease who have no other means of mobility.
Built, painted and assembled in northern Spokane, the timber and steel vehicles feature sturdy parts and solid-core rubber wheels allowing transportation over terrain that would prove difficult for traditional wheelchairs. Each cart includes a payload area capable of carrying heavy loads.
Hendricks was happy to hear from Kramarz.
“The response to the story gave me some of the best interactions I’ve had,” he said.
It is linked to parents who lost children to brain cancer or seizures.
“A woman who had lost her 19-year-old daughter came to choose a cross,” said Hendricks. “His story marked me. She said she had felt the spirit of her daughter in my studio. It meant so much to me.
In July, Hendricks and his wife, Tori, visited the stores where Rainbow Freedom Carts are made.
“We got to ride bikes (carts) and hear how life-changing they can be,” he said.
Kramarz said Project Trinity faced some challenges during the pandemic. The association ships containers filled with 70 Freedom trolleys to various ports in the United States and partners with several other government departments that distribute them to countries around the world.
“These four ministries failed during COVID,” he said. “Suddenly we had no way of getting the carts to where they were needed.”
Enter World Vision. The global Christian humanitarian organization invited Carpenter to present the mission of the Inland Northwest Trinity to its board of directors in Seattle.
“They accepted Dick’s proposal and said, ‘We’ll take whatever you’ve got,'” Kramarz said. “We have already sent them a few containers and they were delighted. God works in a wonderful way.
Hendricks crafts crosses will be placed in the tailgate section of the trolleys.
“I was so excited I stopped and bought $ 400 worth of plywood on the way home,” Hendricks said. “I have already made 71 crosses for them, so far.”
He said he could not have imagined that crosses made in his garden would end up delivering a message of hope to people around the world.
“I have been blessed by this in so many ways,” said Hendricks. “It’s exciting to be a part of this project.