It will stand nearly 70 feet tall atop the existing tower.

It will be lit every night.

It is a church steeple, and it represents a lifetime of faith work for the man bringing it to the Detroit Lakes area.

Larry Backlund donated a new $14,000 steeple to Lake Eunice Evangelical Free Church, which will receive their 35-foot donation in September.

"Up until I was 11, that was the church I grew up in," he said. "It's still . . . after almost 65 years, it's still home to me as much, or more, as any place else."

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Backlund, 75, lived on his family's farm near Lake Eunice until moving to the Twin Cities at 11. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in physics and worked on the federal government's Apollo space program before teaching at St. Margaret's, which would eventually become Benilde-St. Margaret's, a Catholic school in the Twin Cities.

Upon leaving the school, he began a more than two-decade long career with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Backlund heard his hometown parish of Lake Eunice Evangelical Free Church was thinking about adding a steeple to its 77-year-old building. During the recent COVID-19 statewide state-at-home-orders, Backlund had a lot of time to think about how he could help. He decided to cover the cost of the steeple, if the church would cover the cost of the installation.

"The pastor wrote back right away," Backlund said, "and I still remember the first words of the email, which said, 'Wow!!'"

Pastor Dale Robins of Lake Eunice Evangelical Free Church said his parish is excited to receive this gift and hope it draws new people into their fellowship.

"It's going to be lit every evening," Robins said, "and it's going to be like a beacon of light for the community."

The new church steeple is being constructed by Fiberglass Specialties inc., based in Henderson, Texas, and will need to be assembled on-site. The church will receive and assemble the steeple in mid-September.

"The steeple itself is built out of fiberglass with a metal tube framework on the inside," said Ron Anderson, 78, of Lake Park. He and his wife became church members two years ago after moving to the area.

Anderson, now retired, spent 17 years constructing churches across the United States, including Larry Backlund's, after Backlund moved to the Twin Cities.

He said he thinks this steeple will stand atop the church for the duration of the building's life and said that it should be able to withstand winds up to 120 m.p.h.

"Whether they go at night, or in the day," he said, "it will be a shining light, a welcoming sign."