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Crosses on Ocheyedan Mound a symbol of the season

The sun sets Thursday on crosses placed at the Ocheyedan Mound. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

OCHEYEDAN, Iowa — This time of year, northwest Iowa residents will notice three crosses rising from the crest of Ocheyedan Mound.

The crosses are managed by Ocheyedan Christian Reformed Church and erected by the church’s youth group each year.

Corwin Slagder supervised the youth group for more than 10 years. He said the youths are perfectly suited for the project because they are young and energetic, so they can handle the uphill climb and manual labor required to raise the crosses.

For Slagder, the crosses are a representation of his Christian faith.

“It’s a way to witness to the community what Easter is all about,” he said. “It’s about the empty cross.”

Slagder loves that the crosses are visible from a great distance.

“It helps remind people the real reason for Good Friday and Easter,” he added.

Slagder described what it was like to watch the youths participate in the project.

Jesus invites people to “take up your cross and follow me,” Slagder said. The image of the children carrying the crosses up the hill is a symbol of that statement, he added.

Three years ago, Slagder’s health required him to stop working with the youth group, so he hasn’t been involved in the cross project since then. However, he still feels the same emotions when he observes the crosses reaching into the sky.