ONLY ON KOLD: Restoring San Xavier Mission

ONLY ON KOLD: Restoring San Xavier
Published: May. 21, 2018 at 1:58 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 4, 2018 at 2:42 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A team of about six people are hard at work on several projects at the San Xavier Mission. For these workers, many look at doing the work as an honor.

"It's very gratifying because we're preserving something that our ancestors built 220 years ago," said Timothy Lewis. He has been working on different projects for almost 30 years. He says when he's at work, nothing else matters.

"You lose time," he said. "You get into your work and you concentrate on what you're preserving."

The work at the mission is two-tiered. While they restore the mission, they're also doing what they can do preserve the way it was built. In some cases, that means going back several layers and decades.

"We try to go back to the way it was originally," said Daniel Morales. "We try to get it as close as we can to the original methods they used when they built it."

Morales has been working on different parts of the Mission for almost 40 years. It is something that runs in his family. Morales' grandfather, father, and two kids have spent time working on the historic building.

"We go over some of the jobs that we did to remember what we've done...all the sweat and work we put into this place," he said.

The Mission has an operating budget of about $800,000 a year. Miles Green, the executive director of the Patronato San Xavier says on that budget, it could take as long a 20 years to get all the work done.

"We've been very fortunate that we've got a great team of supporters locally," said Green, who thinks there is a strong push to expand the footprint outside Southern Arizona. His focus is on Maricopa County.

"We've barely made an impact into Maricopa County, this is at least a state treasure - certainly a national treasure. As a state we should be behind it," said Green.

To learn more about the San Xavier Mission and restoration efforts, click here.

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