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Les Albjerg has had a passion for woodworking for as long as he can remember. He said he was about four or five years old when he started to learn the trade from his dad and grandfather, a woodworker.
Over the past two years, Albjerg used his skills, honed over decades, to handcraft a cross for the chapel inside the St. Luke’s Nampa Medical Center, where he serves as a chaplain.
“It turned out better than I expected,” he said, recently. “It looks nice. It’s more rustic and natural. It fits the decorations and theme of the hospital.”
The Myrtlewood cross is two and a half feet tall, with a 12-inch base made from maple burl. After waiting several months for the wood base to dry, the cross is now displayed in the chapel.
“It is very rewarding to have it in the chapel,” he said. “It was a joy to do. It was something I felt like would give a more personal touch, rather than something bought off the shelf.”
Albjerg has been a chaplain at St. Luke’s for 10 years, working in Boise and Meridian before moving to Nampa when the new hospital opened in 2017. He handcrafted a cross for the Meridian Medical Center chapel a few years ago.
“It’s been a hobby and passion for me,” he said. “It’s nice to have a tangible hobby. Being a chaplain is intangible work. When you make something out of wood, it has a beginning and an ending.”
Joan Agee, St. Luke’s Nampa Chief Operating Officer/CNO, has looked forward to the cross being displayed for several months, often checking in with Albjerg for updates on the drying process.
“Les’s dedication to handcrafting this beautiful cross has been extraordinary,” Agee said. “We are delighted to have it on display in our chapel for our patients, families, staff and community members.”
While St. Luke’s is not religiously affiliated, there are chapels available in all its hospitals.
Daniel Mediate works in the St. Luke’s Community Engagement department.
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