Report by Paula Antolini
October 6, 2017 5:04PM EDT
Photo: The 58 hand made crosses built and installed by Illinois carpenter Greg Zanis, to honor the Las Vegas shooting victims.
Illinois Carpenter Builds Cross Memorials for Las Vegas Victims, Travels 2,000 Miles to Place Them
A retired 66-year-old Ilinois carpenter, Greg Zanis, known for his previous cross memorials, drove 2,000 miles to Las Vegas, Nevada, this past Thursday to install 58 white crosses in front of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign to honor the victims of the October 1st shooting. The crosses included the b=name of each victim and a red heart.
Zanis has been making crosses for over two decades and has erected over 20,000 memorial markers after mass shootings in Columbine, and Sandy Hook/Newtown school and Orlando night club shootings, according to the Associated Press.
The crosses will remain on display for 40 days and then Zanis plans on giving them to the families of the victims.
Photo: Carpenter Greg Zanis.
Zanis’ daughter, Maria, set up a gofundme page to help with the expenses incurred by her father in making the crosses. They have raised $3,094 of the $5,000 goal so far.
Maria said, “My dad has made it his mission to build a cross for every person that is a victim and looses their life in the city of Chicago. My dad building crosses to remember those last to violence is nothing new. He has been putting up crosses for victims of tragedies since I was 14. I am now 36 and have seen him put up crosses for tragedies such as Columbine High School, the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooting, Sandy Hook Elementary and so many more. I have personally asked my dad to stop putting up the crosses. I asked this of him because my parents do not have the means to do this.”
At first she wanted him to stop making the crosses but then she changed her mind, and said, “I’ve asked him to stop because doing this requires a level of financing that my parents simply cannot afford. I’ve had a change of heart. I’ve seen my dad change for the better since he started doing these crosses. I love my dad and I want him to be able to keep doing these memorials. I don’t want to see my family get upset with him for spending money because my family needed that money to pay rent. Building these crosses is my dad’s passion. This truly makes him happy. I can’t call my dad without him talking to me about the people he met and what he plans to do with the crosses. He tells me about the mothers and wives that keep coming to his house in Aurora to pick up crosses for those they’ve lost.