Phil Cihiwsky is on the walk of a lifetime—a 15-state trek that l anded him in Roswell Friday.
“It has always been a dream of mine, walking across the country,” Cihiwsky said. “I decided about a year ago to make this dream a reality.”
The avid stroller retired on a Friday in his hometown of Loveland, Colo., and flew San Diego, where he began his journey two days later on March 4.
Cihiwsky has two main goals for completing his 3,300-mile journey to York Harbor, Maine, in October. First is to fulfill his dream, and second is to boost awareness for the needs of homebound seniors and the works of organizations that provide meals to seniors, such as Meals on Wheels.
Cihiwsky, 59, said it wasn’t originally his idea to dedicate his journey to a special organization. But along the way, his path has connected him to his mission.
Every day he pushes his cart — packed with water, food, a tent and other supplies — along the roadway. He usually finds a spot along the road to stop for the night, set up his tent and sleep. But twice, he was forced to knock on someone’s door for help.
“Call it by chance or that it was meant to be, but those people were seniors receiving Meals on Wheels or the equivalent,” he said.
Both seniors graciously allowed him to sleep on their lawns or offered him assistance, he said. The trek also has connected him to the feelings homebound seniors must deal with, he said.
“Part of this walk, I’ve come closer to understanding what the needs are for homebound seniors, because I’ve experience them myself,” he said.
Carrying minimal supplies, Cihiwsky has experienced isolation, loneliness, hunger and pain, he said.
“All of those things are some of the experiences homebound seniors go through every day,” he said.
Cihiwsky encourages people to consider making donations to these organizations.
Meals on Wheels will post Cihiwsky’s photos and videos from his walk on its website at www.meals-on-wheels.org.
From Roswell, Cihiwsky will head to Delheart, Texas, where he hopes to meet up with his wife and a new pair of walking shoes. From there, he will hit the road for Oklahoma.
Chaves County J.O.Y. Centers provides Meals in Wheels to Roswell-area seniors. The program provides at least one nutritionally appropriate lunch meal to qualified seniors from one of four senior citizens centers in the county. Information about this program can be found at chavescountyjoycenters.com.