Glendive landmark is again shining on the community

Hunter Herbaugh
Sunday, October 10, 2021
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Don Zimmerman, pictured, was one of several volunteers who worked on repairing the cross on Hungry Joe Hill recently. The effort was led by local resident Doug Goroski. Submitted photo

After weeks of being in need of maintenance, the cross sitting on top of Hungry Joe Hill has finally been fixed. The widely recognized landmark was displaying as a bright, shining “T” at night for several weeks after the lights in the top part burned out near the beginning of August.

The effort to repair the structure was led by local resident Doug Goroski, who has been voluntarily maintaining the cross for many years now. He was assisted in the repair by Don Zimmerman and Robin and Todd Thompson. Not only did they repair it, they also upgraded it, replacing the previous flourecent bulbs with LED lights that are expected to last much longer.

There has been a cross on Hungry Joe Hill in one form or another since 1954. It has gone through several incarnations before the current cross was installed in 1980. Goroski himself is responsible for one of the structures most notable features, its winch system, which he and his brother installed some time in the early 1990’s.

Goroski began raising funds to go towards the repairs in August, managing to raise about $500 before the repairs were made. He ended up not needing those funds though, as RT Electric donated the materials and time to make the upgrades.

“My budget of $500, I didn’t even spend a penny. Robin Thompson donated everything, light bulbs and his labor,” Goroski said.

One thing that was keeping Goroski from initiating the repairs however, was the drought conditions that have been plagueing the area this year. Noting that he has already experienced multiple fires near his property this summer, Goroski is well aware of the current fire danger and postponed repairs to wait until more favorable conditions.

Faced with the coming winter though, Goroski said he chose to try going ahead with the project. He contacted the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office and the West Glendive Fire Department to get some guidance on the matter and was told that as long the repairs were done on a day without too much wind, he would be fine to proceed.

“I stopped at the Sheriff’s Office, talked to (Undersheriff Katie Mills), she got (West Glendive Fire Chief Brad Sharbono) on the phone and I told him what I was going to do, that I was going to drive a ranger and a pick-up up there and they said as long as we do it in the morning and the wind isn’t howling, we could go do it,” Goroski said.

The repairs were done last Saturday and Goroski has already received feedback from people who are happy to see the cross shining once again.

“When I went to church Sunday morning everybody thanked me, they already noticed it was lit. It makes you feel good,” he said.

Now with the LEDs, Goroski expects it will be quite some time before any more maintenance is needed. Likewise, he doesn’t have any more upgrades or projects for the cross planned for the foreseeable future.

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