PUEBLO, Colo. — If you were to drive south on I25, you might catch a glimpse of an unusual sight: 73-year-old Andrew Rybak with a heavy burden.
“It was a thought I had to attract attention,” Rybak said.
He’s averaging four to five miles a day, on foot, all while carrying a 100-pound homemade cross.
“This cross is nine-foot-long and six feet across. It doesn’t weigh the 300 pounds that they estimate Jesus’ cross was, but this one I can handle,” he said.
Rybak says it took him several months to build the cross, and it’s all to raise awareness for Jane’s Home Foundation, which provides care and housing for adults with developmental disabilities.
“It was probably not the easiest way,” Rybak noted. “I could’ve taken out advertising, but I wanted to convince people of my dedication.”
But, he said this is a cause near and dear to his heart.
“I have a younger sister who’s just a year younger. She was born with cerebral palsy,” he said. “And it was my mother’s dying wish that she be in a home of her own away from the institutionalized homes.”
But why a cross?
The Rybaks say that because they’re catholic, they feel the cross is the perfect symbol to represent the burdens some people have in their lives.
“Those of us that know people with disabilities realize that the cross they bear is a lot harder than this,” said Rybak’s wife, Diana. “And that’s what we’re supporting.”
Rybak said he’s already four days down, and even though it’s been difficult, he plans on making it to the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Pueblo on Good Friday.
“It’s as difficult as I imagined it would be. First couple of days, my calves were mushy, my hips hurt, my shoulder aches,” Rybak said. “[But] the big significance is Christ probably had it a lot harder than I have it.”
Rybak said if you see him while driving on the interstate and want to show your support, you can honk or throw a friendly wave.