River Cities Gazette

Grace Lutheran Church statue gets cleaning

FACE-TO-FACE: Bud Bladow got close to God while cleaning the welcoming statue at Grace Lutheran Church.
FACE-TO-FACE: Bud Bladow got close to God while cleaning the welcoming statue at Grace Lutheran Church.
Gazette Photo/WALLY CLARK

River Cities Gazette

Everyone in South Florida knows that when something is outside the weather will have its way, and anything that’s white will slowly turn dark with mildew. Upkeep is a necessity, but when something is out of reach, it doesn’t get regular maintenance.

On Saturday, Nov. 30 Reid Bladow and three other men took on the chore of pressure-cleaning the welcoming God statue high on the front of Grace Lutheran Church on Curtiss Parkway.

Bladow was the man with the pressure gun on the ladder, while Leo Justo, Bud Gishler and Charlie Henry assisted from the ground. Of course, you can’t get that close to an image of Jesus without good-natured comments.

“I did this five years ago,” said Bladow, a longtime church member and RN at the University of Miami. “But we didn’t have a hose long enough, so we only got up to His neck. He had a dirty face for years.”

Pastor David Imhoff said, “Jesus has been welcoming folks for over 60 years with His arms outstretched. In the course of doing so, the elements have been attempting to wear Him down. So our men’s group decided to give Him a bath and clean Him up for Christmas. Reid Bladow climbed up and did the job. It’s the first time someone has seen Jesus, face to face, and lived to tell others about it.”

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