Dayton

Man Delivers Handmade Crosses to Honor El Paso Victims

When tragedy strikes, this man of faith responds with hope

Illinois is home for Greg Zanis, but the carpenter is often found on the road.

From mass shootings to motorcycle crashes, Zanis travels across the country delivering wooden crosses to communities afflicted with violence.

This past weekend, he drove from Illinois to El Paso, where more than 20 people were killed in a mass shooting on Saturday. He delivered crosses near the scene to remember the victims.

The project for Zanis is a personal one. After his father-in-law’s murder in 1996, Zanis began building white crosses and gifting them to families who grieve unexpected deaths.

"I'm not going to sit and cry," Zanis said. "I'm going to do something about it."

Zanis, along with his organization Crosses for Losses, has made over 26,000 crosses since 1997. Each cross is carefully crafted, adorned with the victim’s name and fastened to a heart-shaped piece of wood containing a Bible verse.

Responding to tragedy is never easy, but Zanis' message is one of hope.

"We have a problem here, but, my gosh, the solution is us," Zanis said.

Zanis describes himself as a man of faith and shares his firm belief that families will one day be reunited in Heaven. Instead of pointing fingers, Zanis encourages others to have faith.

After delivering crosses to El Paso, Zanis is headed to Dayton, Ohio, to gift yet another community devastated by loss.

"Love is the only answer here," Zanis said.

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