REFUGIO – Sometimes just when you think you have it, you don’t.

In this case it was the First United Methodist Church replacement steeple.

As Pastor Harold Onwiler said, “We should have had it by Christmas (last year).”

“It was ready by Christmas 2018, but we couldn’t schedule a crane ’til now,” he said.

The aluminum skeleton would be copper clad with 20-ounce mill finished copper, and it would have a three-foot cross on top like the original before it, the bell tower and steeple were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.

The steeple was manufactured by a Kentucky company, Campbellsville Industries in Campbellsville.

The company bid $21,730 to make and install the steeple.

The engineer for the project was Dave Michaelsen of Corpus Christi.

Onwiler said most of it was paid for by insurance.

However, the equipment to install it would have to be rented and available on site when the installation would take place.

The primary piece of equipment was the TNT Crane out of Corpus Christi that came on site to lift the steeple in place on May 31.

The bell tower already had been repaired by masonry workers and was ready to be capped by the steeple.

The installation was made into a celebration, including food and a photo contest.

The installation began around 8:30 a.m., shortly after Onwiler rang the church bell.

But things did not go as planned because the holes for the bolts to secure the steeple were not aligned correctly.

So the crane lowered the steeple back to the ground.

New holes were drilled as the workers were bound and determined to make it work.

Eventually, the steeple was lifted again and secured to the bell tower.

Then the three-foot cross was placed atop the steeple.

Onwiler said he hoped that the new steeple will be a positive force as people in Refugio County continue to rebuild from Hurricane Harvey’s destruction.

Tim Delaney is the Refugio editor at the  Advance-Guard Press and can be reached at 361-526-2397, or at