Don Holloway never sold his handmade crosses but he’s given away too many to count. His crosses are scattered across the globe. Distributed by Don and friends on trips and missions, the small Christian symbols are worn as necklaces or used as key holders.
Initially, Don used cedar from the Christmas tree decorating the sanctuary at First United Methodist Church during Advent and Christmas. He made crosses to give to persons attending the Good Friday service before Easter. He shaped two to four inch crosses in random patterns.
In 1995, he gave crosses to participants at a Bible study at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. In 1996 when he and his wife, Lucia, attended “Journeys of Apostle Paul” in Greece and Turkey, they handed out crosses.
On a Holy Land tour in 1998, more crosses were distributed. When visiting a school and college in Ibilllin for students of all faiths, Don presented a cross to Father Elias Chacour, founder of the schools. Now the Bishop of Jerusalem and Galilee, Father Chacour has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
On two occasions, he donated 60 crosses to groups headed by Bonnie Jones Gehweiler of Lake Junaluska traveling to Bethlehem. The tour groups interacted with local Christians in Israel. On their return to the US, they marketed Holy Land crafts to help the people suffering from poor economic conditions.
Associated with the Jesus Video Mission of Georgia, Billy Laycock of Atlanta distributed hundreds of Don’s crosses.
“Receiving a cross was a life-changing event for many people and a tribute to Jesus for what He has done for me,” said Laycock.
Once he gave one to a little girl who was tugging on his jacket.
After he explained the meaning of the cross, she said, “I never heard about Jesus except when someone was mad.”
Don’s interest in construction began at an early age when he “designed a fort” of scrap posts in his backyard. After he completed his BBA degree at Ole Miss in 1960, he joined his father, Carey, at Holloway Building Material, a business that opened in 1945. “When times at the lumber yard were slow, I’d whittle or make bird houses.” he said.
When the business was sold in 1978, he and Aubrey Trusty assisted Methodist Volunteers in Mission in Haiti, working along side British Methodists on a school in Haiti. “Aubrey Trusty was an inspiration to me as a person and as a woodcrafter,” said Don. The two collaborated on many projects including Bible school workshops. Don also helped church laymen build two Methodist parsonages located in Lafayette County and near Ripley. Locally, he has assisted Habitat for Humanity projects.