Greg Zanis, a retired carpenter in Illinois, has a history of doing good deeds. And in the wake of the tragic Las Vegas shooting, he continued the acts of kindness by building, transporting, and installing 58 wooden crosses — one for each life lost.
The 66-year-old spent two days making the crosses before driving more than 1,500 miles to the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign where he arranged them. As for why he did what he did, the reason is simple: “This row of crosses will show the severity of what really happened there,” Zanis told WGN. “More so than numbers and pictures in the paper.”
And this isn’t the first time Zanis has traveled across the country after a tragedy. Last year after the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Zanis drove from his home in Aurora, Illinois, to Florida with 49 crosses in tow. Before that, he stopped in Chicago in 2016 and 2017 to honor the victims of gun violence. He also made trips after the shootings in Aurora, Colorado, and Columbine High School. According to WGN, Zanis made at least 700 crosses just for his local area just last year. And by his count, he’s made probably 20,000 altogether.
So, why does he do what he does? He’s no stranger to tragedy. In 1996, he found his father-in-law dead, and building crosses became a coping mechanism for dealing with his grief. “I don’t have any answers, but this is just me doing something, showing that I care, showing that I love them,” he told WGN.
How touching! While nothing can bring back those we lost, Zanis and all the others out there who are honoring the victims are a reminder that we Americans love and support each other. Bravo, sir!
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