"Pastor Dan" carries the cross along US
33-119 with a message of Christ

"I owe the Lord a great debt, so I'm paying it," said Pastor Daniel Bird of Delaware, who was trekking across Calhoun and Roane counties Friday on US 33-119, headed west.

Bird has been traveling the United States, paying back his debt by carrying a large handmade cross over his shoulder, with nothing more than a backpack and a Bible.

"It's just something I've got to do," he said.

The cross, Bird said, was made out of aluminum downspouts with a wheel at the bottom, making it lightweight and easy for travel.

It is Bird's tenth year hiking across the United States with the handmade cross dragging behind him, with the hope of encouraging others and reminding people who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"We have to remember who died for us," he said.

Throughout his travels, Bird said he has met many people who have stopped to talk and pray with him. He said he often hears people yelling at him as they drive by, as well.

"I meet a lot of good folks, a lot of people that need prayer," he said.

Bird said he travels across the eastern half of the United States, with Texas being the farthest he has traveled. Occasionally, he will set up camp or stop at a motel for the night but he said he goes "wherever the Holy Spirit leads."

When he is not traveling across the eastern United States, typically in the winter, Bird works as a construction worker.

"When springtime rolls around, I just take off," he said.

With the cross over his shoulder, Bird said he would continue making his trip until he felt that the Lord was calling him to go back home to Delaware.