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17 ‘Crosses for Losses’ taken to Florida, Greg Zanis continues to honor murder victims nationwide

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Las Vegas, NV — Greg Zanis said he started making crosses for murder victims 19 years ago, after the shooting in Columbine, Colorado. He hasn’t stopped since.

“I’m doing the same thing over again except I’m doing it more often,” Zanis, of Chicago, said. “I’m getting seasoned at this,” he said of his cross deliveries. Every time there’s a mass shooting, Zanis comes with handmade crosses.

When 58 people were killed in Las Vegas in the 1 October shooting, Zanis made and brought 58 crosses to Southern Nevada too.

“I realize there’s a great need for what I’m doing so I do feel like I got iron shoulders, like I’m carrying the whole weight of the country on my shoulders here. But I also know that it’s very important.”

Last week, Zanis’s Crosses for Losses mission to honor victims of homicide brought him to Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed at Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.

“Before I left (Florida), several of the stands were already completely covered with flowers. Just the immediate response was amazing.”

“All the Floridians already know me for putting up the 49 crosses at the Pulse nightclub, and it’s so hard to go back. I stopped at the Pulse nightclub, just stopped and prayed. I think about it all the time.”

Zanis said it’s been difficult seeing so many mass shootings throughout the years.

“You want to look at it from my point of view: it’s a mess, it’s a mess.”

“I don’t see anyone trying to prevent it so I say it’s getting worse, it’s going to keep getting worse. It’s not really what I wanted to do in my retirement. Me putting out crosses, one mass shooting after another. This is not my idea of a dream country anymore, and I think the rest of the world is looking at us, shaking their heads. But then again, I know the rest of the world sees my memorials, and sees us as a faith-based country.”

Going to these tragedies became part of Zanis’ routine, part of a routine he wish he wasn’t repeating.

“I thought I was immune to the crying,” he said. “Then this mom [in Florida] she started hugging me, she lost her daughter, and I couldn’t control myself.”

Every time Zanis goes and places crosses for a heartbroken city he said he hopes it’ll be the last time.

“I just feel like the rest of the world is looking at us, shaking their heads.”

Greg Zanis said knowing his crosses bring comfort keeps him going, and he won’t stop until the shootings do. He said placing the crosses never gets easier, but seeing how places like Florida responded, makes it work.

“Before I left (Sunday) there were hundreds of people around, actually to the point I couldn’t actually get a photo because there were so many people there.Just to see all these different faiths together all praying, it just put a big smile on my face.”

“The crosses bring more than just healing and hope, which we all know that, as I was (in Florida Sunday), this one mom says that, ‘I didn’t just lose my daughter, we all lost our family.’ And it brings the community together in a very unique way and there’s just nothing else that can do it like (putting up the crosses).

A gofundme page was set up by Greg’s son to help cover expenses.

FOX5 wanted to help Zanis with his mission when he was in Las Vegas and the FOX5 Surprise Squad was able to provide him a grant, a new truck, and a trailer.