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Paul Helmig depicts Jesus carrying the cross for Good Friday

For some people Good Friday is a day off, but for a Pekin man, the day has a much deeper meaning.

Paul Helmig has walked the streets of Pekin every year since 1992, carrying the weight of the cross. He wears very realistic face paint to depict the journey of Jesus.

He said he simply doesn’t want anyone to forget the real meaning of the day, in addition to Easter.

“It’s rained on me one time, it’s snowed on me before. One time it was darn near 31 degrees, snowing, God has blessed me,” said Helmig while carrying the cross.

He has also walked, rain or shine, in Peoria, Canton, Lincoln, Decatur, and Chillicothe, but he said he always saves Good Friday for Pekin.

Molly Jirasek

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