50 year old Gary Gross spent two and a half years of metal detecting, digging, planning and assembling an 8-by-5 foot cross leaning on it’s side to show for it. Gross, a Lakeland police officer, spends four years every week using his metal detector. The idea started as a form of exercise for him while he was off the job, but turned into a hobby he has been enjoying for more than four and a half years. Speaking on the hobby, Gross states, “It is not about all about discovering big cash. It is about finding relics, discovering Lakeland one piece at a time.”
Metal-detecting hobbyists will bring a bucket to chuck all the useless pieces of scrap into throughout their scavenge, but Gross prefers to not toss things away. Gross started to put the random junk together when he came up with an abstract idea: to make a cross out of it all. Gross started with a simple sketch and a frame, and then it took off. He used welding, screwing and brazing to put the metallic cross together, which he taught himself. The only part of the structure that he did not find metal detecting is the stained glass he wrapped in copper tubing.
Gross said it represents where Jesus was on the cross. He also made a crown of thorns out of nails he dug up over the years for where Jesus’ head would be. He said the cross is a symbol of his faith and creativity. Gross believes it’s important for everyone to have a hobby and an opportunity to be creative, especially being a police officer. He argues, “Sometimes you just have to step away as a police officer and escape the stresses of it all. Everyone is creative in their own way. They just have to find out what it is.” True, very true.