Pleasant Grove man forges iron crosses in honor of his late wife

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 2:35 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Daniel Long can usually be found in his garage with a hammer in his hand forging crosses from hot iron.

But this story isn’t about Daniel, it’s about his late wife, Rachel.

On Oct. 7, 2021, Rachel was on her way to work when a wrong-way driver hit her head on. Daniel got a call from his cousin saying she was in a wreck. Once he arrived, he found out she was killed in the accident.

“A nurse come running up to me and she said, ‘she’s gone’ and I said, ‘where’d they carry her?’ I thought they carried her in an ambulance and she said, ‘No sir, she’s gone,’” explained Daniel. “I fell to the ground. My life has been dumbed upside down since then.”

Daniel returned to the crash site and turned to his faith to ask what to do next. That is when he started forging crosses made from iron.

“The average person would choose a pill or a bottle. And I’ve chosen a hammer,” said Daniel.

It wasn’t something new for Daniel, he had made the crosses before, but he never put his stamp on them until he began to make them in Rachel’s honor.

To date, he has made 633. He gives them to people he meets in his everyday life - whether that’s friends or strangers he met the day before. He said of the 600, 500 people who received one knew Rachel in some way.

“You can’t find anybody that would’ve told you she had an enemy, she was just that type,” said Daniel.

Daniel said the only thing that keeps him going is making the crosses. He uses Facebook to track the crosses as they make their way across the globe in Rachel’s memory.

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