BOSTON, MA – Greg Zanis, the Greek-American best known for setting up crosses to commemorate the victims of mass shootings has decided to move on after 26,000 crosses, according to a report by WCVB 5, Boston’s ABC affiliate.
“The breaking point for Zanis came in February when a gunman killed five people in his hometown of Aurora, Illinois,” WCVB reported, adding that “he knew something was wrong when dozens of law enforcement vehicles, sirens screaming, rocketed by his house. About 15 minutes later, Zanis’ daughter called saying there was a shooting. He would make five more crosses for that tragedy.”
“I was blindsided, and I didn’t think it could happen,” he said, WCVB reported. “I’ve been living in a curtain of darkness since it happened in my hometown.”
According to the report, “his final trip was to Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, a city north of Los Angeles, where he delivered two crosses. He dropped off 100 crosses at a Lutheran church in Las Vegas on the way home, so they could begin taking over his duties. Zanis plans to turn a trailer into a mobile workshop so he can travel around the country teaching members of the Lutheran church how to build the memorials.”
Tim Hetzner, president and chief executive officer of Lutheran Church Charities, said “God must have a plan because I sure don’t. To further what Greg has done for 20 years, we’re honored to be able to do that,” WCVB reported, adding that “Hetzner said 135 Lutheran churches in 26 states train comfort dogs and take them to various tragedies” and “those churches will continue and expand Zanis’ ministry. They also don’t care about religious affiliations.”
Zanis “will move on to restoring a shot-up 1927 Cadillac Imperial stretch limousine of a Chicago gangster,” WCVB reported.
When asked about the car’s association with a violent man and his own efforts honoring shooting victims, Zanis said, “It is odd, but it’s the Mona Lisa of Cadillacs, a rare classic,” WCVB reported, adding that “his original intent was to start working on the car when he retired, but he took up cross-building instead.”
The car “had 22 bullet holes in its armor when he first got it 45 years ago,” WCVB reported.