Reporting Mike DeNardo
By Mike DeNardo
SWEDESBORO, Nj (CBS) — A South Jersey icon damaged in last summer’s earthquake is expected to return to the Camden skyline next month.
The top three sections of the landmark statue of the Virgin Mary are in a warehouse in Swedesboro, awaiting their April return to the top of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden.
The top half of 30-foot statue, cracked in the earthquake last August, was taken down, repaired and restored, and the statue was given a new illuminated halo.
“It made us really realize what a symbol of hope and healing it is for the entire South Jersey community,” said Lourdes CEO Alexander Hatala. “So we’re all anxious to have her back on top of Our Lady of Lourdes and be the guiding light for our health system in South Jersey.”
Individual donations and fundraisers helped the hospital cover the $100,000 deductible on its insurance policy, with about $60,000 left over to pay for additional statue upgrades and improvements.
“From $5 to to $1000. It was just a great outpouring,” said Lourdes foundation board vice chair Linda Winfield. “People had stories that connected them to the hospital. And just because our Mother is such an icon, everyone wanted to contribute to restore her.”