After a gunman killed 26 people during a church service on November 5th, Greg Zanis, packed up his truck and drove to Texas. Greg installed a cross for each victim in permanent marker across the front. Greg is 66 and is at a loss for words as he put up each cross.
“I’m really kind of feeling like I’m bonding with these families,” Greg said as he wrote the name of a victim in permanent marker across the front. Zanis, 66, was almost at a loss for words as he put up each cross.
“I’m just trying to show something that’s not around anymore that’s love and compassion and showing somebody you love them and doing something for them,” he explained. The Chicago-area retired carpenter travels the country to put up crosses for victims of violent crimes – including those who died last month in the country music concert attack in Las Vegas.
“This year I’m at 550 in Chicago alone,” he said. “I came from Chicago to show you that I love you and I’m not alone. Everybody loves you.”
“We’re in America, you are in a place where there is so much violence,” he added. “Chicago is the poster child, but heck, now, you can’t go to Orlando or Vegas and enjoy a vacation anymore.”
A proud Christian, Zanis said he hopes to be a role model for “working-class people” looking for guidance. “I know the pastors got all the answers but actually… I’m the guy building those churches and those houses.”
He told a local, “It’s going to be a long time until things are back to normal here for you. Just have faith that it is going to be back to normal someday.”
Zanis has also started what he described as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization called Crosses for Losses, so that he can continue his “one-man mission to place crosses and/or other memorials to anyone and everyone who requests one.” According to his Facebook page said he has constructed more than 14,000 wooden crosses and other memorials since 1997.